Thursday, July 4, 2013

Ringing the Songbird Bells

John James Audubon, Goldfinch

Mary Oliver

"Some goldfinches were having a melodious argument at the edge of a puddle. The birds wanted to bathe, or perhaps just to dip their heads and look at themselves, and they were having trouble with who should be first, and so on. So they discussed it while I stood in the distance, listening. Perhaps in Tibet, in the old holy places, they also have such fragile bells. Or are these birds really just that, bells come to us—come to this road in America— let us bow our heads and remember how we used to do it, say a prayer. Meanwhile, the birds bathe and splash and have a good time. Then they fly off, their dark wings opening from their bright yellow bodies; their tiny feet, all washed, clasping the air."

John James Audubon, Junco

This morning, in the heat of the fir woods, the bird song feels just like bells, high and trilling, like the juncos above, quick and rasping, sweet, rough... but all of it together, in the early sun, makes the holiest of churches, bells with tiny fast hearts ringing all around, enough to make you weep for the miracle of a songbird. And yes, what small, what perfect, feet.

John James Audubon, Chickadee

No comments:

Post a Comment