Miracle? All of it. 


Whirring notes of a varied thrush soak in through the walls of sleep.  Gradually ascending toward consciousness, I struggle to remember where we are, then realize what shore these songs ring out across. As the sky pales toward sunrise, I awaken to a world of dreams.

More varied thrushes join the first, until the woods and thickets chime like a chorus of bells. Other birds blend into the medley: fox sparrow, robin, hermit thrush, winter wren, ruby-crowned kinglet, Townsend’s warbler. Their sounds are trapped and magnified in the forest, made rich and deep in the saturated air – ribbons and lacework of song, shadows and flickers of song, splinters and shards of song, and the whispered secrets of unfamiliar song.

The cove fills up with bird voices, until even the noise of surf fades to irrelevance. And what of the songs beyond this patch of shore? If we hiked down the beach or back through the woods, we would hear the same chorus, repeated endlessly, permeating the air with sweet, mingled phrases. I wonder how many thousands of birds are singing at this moment on the island alone? How many millions along the north Pacific shore? And how many billions in the curved shadow of dawn that lies along the continent’s western flank? Throughout this vast expanse the land breathes with song and pours an anthem of morning into the sky. In the flow of a summer sunrise, the living continent sings.

~ Richard Nelson,  The Island Within

Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”



  1. No picture needed …the words were the ultimate sensory experience

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “the living continent sings.” indeed it does

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, this is magnificent! I remember when I was in grad school and seeing someone in DC, I would make the drive south in the pre-dawn hours, listening to a program on NPR whose name escapes me. At any rate, they frequently did reports with a scientist from Cornell’s ornithology lab, and They. Were. Wonderful. I loved how the guy would play a little birdsong that he’d recorded during a hike in the Amazon or equatorial Guinea or some such place and then call out the names of the birds, talk about their habitat, habits, all of it. I. Was. Transported. This passage made my heart soar in similar fashion….Thx pal!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. it is serenity to be still and listen to the individual voices and inflections as the morning birds wake – something I’ll never tire of. I’m not as keen on the noise of the 1000’s as they clamor away flying overhead though.

    Liked by 1 person

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