I imagine how the press of cooling air might feel against its wings

For some weeks, I’ve been worried about the health of family and friends. Today I’ve stared at a computer screen for hours. My eyes hurt. My heart does, too. Feeling the need for air, I sit on the step of my open back door and see a rook, a sociable species of European crow, flying low toward my house through gray evening air. Straightaway I use the trick I learned as a child, and all my difficult emotions lessen as I imagine how the press of cooling air might feel against its wings. But my deepest relief doesn’t come from imagining I can feel what the rook feels, know what the rook knows — instead, it’s slow delight in recognizing that I cannot. These days I take emotional solace from understanding that animals are not like me, that their lives are not about us at all. The house it’s flying over has meaning for both of us. To me, it is home. To a rook? A way point on a journey, a collection of tiles and slopes, useful as a perch or a thing to drop walnuts on in autumn to make them shatter and let it winkle out the flesh inside.

Then there is something else. As it passes overhead, the rook tilts its head to regard me briefly before flying on. And with that glance I feel a prickling in my skin that runs down my spine, and my sense of place shifts. The rook and I have shared no purpose. For one brief moment we noticed each other, is all. When I looked at the rook and the rook looked at me, I became a feature of its landscape as much as it became a feature of mine. Our separate lives, for that moment, coincided, and all my anxiety vanished in that one fugitive moment, when a bird in the sky on its way somewhere else pulled me back into the world by sending a glance across the divide.

~ Helen MacDonald, excerpt from “What Animals Taught Me About Being Human” (The New York Times, May 16, 2017)


Photo: Gregory Colbert (Thank you Sawsan via Last Tambourine)

Photography (astonish the senses)

“Over seven days, dawn to dusk, flying over 2,000 miles, Zack Seckler brought his camera, and his unique vision, to South Africa, capturing an astounding world of land, sea, and natural life. Direct and complex, magically precise yet abstract, the images draw the viewer back repeatedly to the interplay of form, light, color, and composition. They, like the region, astonish the senses and engage the mind’s eye.”


Source:

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call (Early bird catches the…)

early bird catches the worm


Photo: A fieldfare pulls an earth worm out of a meadow in Wolfsburg, Germany on Thursday. (Silas Stein, Associated Press, April 6, 2017, wsj.com)

Saturday Morning

‘When I was a girl,’ she had once told a friend, ‘I was terribly sure trees and flowers were the same as birds or people. That they thought things, and talked among themselves. And we could hear them if we really tried. It was just a matter of emptying your head of all other sounds. Being very quiet and listening very hard. Sometimes I still believe that. But one can never get quiet enough…

~ Truman Capote, In Cold Blood


Photo: skringers.com

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

birds

The birders I encountered in books and in the world shared little except this simple secret:

if you listen to birds, every day will have a song in it.

~ Kyo Maclear, Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation 

 


Notes:

  • Inspired by:Some people experience serenity by seeing their home team win, others by spending time with a loved one or racing downhill on a mountain bike. For me, it’s watching birds—seeing them, identifying them, wondering what they’re doing, marveling at their powers of navigation, or simply taking in their exquisite beauty. I love birds.  ~ Neil Hayward, “Lost Among the Birds: Accidentally Finding Myself in One Very Big Year
  • Photo via Mennyfox55
  • Related posts: Kyo Maclear

Piper (Best Animated Short)

Saturday Morning

nest-sleep-silence

Silence
will carry your voice
like the nest that holds the sleeping birds.

~Rabindranath Tagore, from Stray Birds


Notes:

Quotes: Your Eyes Blaze Out. Photo: Sarah Treanor with “still life” (via Your Eyes Blaze Out).  Find all of Stray Birds @ eldrichpress.org.

Sunday Morning

cape-pigeons-aerial

Birds are
God’s handwriting.

~ Jorge Carrera Andrade, “Alphabet,” in Micrograms

 


Notes:

Fly

sparrows


Photo: Sparrows in flight near Minsk, Belarus. Sergei Grits (AP)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call: Up! Up! Up!

birds-up-rise-fly


Source: Baletnice by Robert via Your Eyes Blaze Out

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