For The Birds


I’m enchanted with my reoccurring day dream that birds taught us language. In this dream, they inspired us to sing before we could talk. Captivated by the birds varied melodies, we became emboldened to follow their led. At first startled and then delighted when we found our voices rising up to the sky to match their notes.

Thus, we went from grunts, grrrs, grumblings to recreating the simple

caw of the crow

chirp of the chickadee

twitter of the wren

hoot of the owl.

 Sounds that we too could make. We were encouraged, mystified, enraptured. The birds’ lyricism stirred us with desire to imitate their beauty even further. To sing as they sing with a musical voice like the Yellow-eyed Junco – chit chit chit weedle weedle che che che. Or the rapid song of the Yellow Warbler – sweet sweet sweet, I’m so sweet.

We then took their simple songs and turned them into our own full throated melodic expressions. Slowly these became woven together into phrases for which we developed meanings.

Ka, ka, who, che, became ‘beware of the alligator’

Na, ni, chit, cha, became ‘sweet berries by the stream’

Twee, twee, sweet, deee-de, became ‘hey baby, what are you doing tonight?’

Pit, pree, weedle, became ‘danger stay close’

And so it went, in my mind’s fanciful eye, that these strung together imitations got broken down into words. Thereby forming an even more complex way to communicate. Words that grew in depth and meaning. Words that can transport us from where we are at the present moment to other places, other times, other realities. Words that evoke joy, sorrow, compassion, hatred, fear, love, the entire gamut of human emotions. Words that provide our lives with depth and richness of language. Words that we take for such granted.

Yet even with the fecundity of language our words can carry us only so far. It is within the music, the melody, that remains under those words, once only notes, which gives our human hearts true flight. Melodies that lift us to the heavens and beyond. Melodies forever and always inspired by the birds.