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Perspective: Birdsong

Manfred Richter

I woke up at 4 a.m. and went to my screened-in porch to read, but I gave up a few minutes later. The birdsong was so loud, I couldn't focus on my novel.

As the book rested on my lap, I listened. Individual voices emerged from the din, and little by little, I could follow the conversations that were going on. A bird sang and then waited until another answered. The call and response of nature's polyphony was taking shape around me.

These songs were more than an anticipation of dawn, but affirmations of each individual bird. Every song was a singular way to say: "I am here. I matter. This is where I belong." Over and over again, these birds engaged in their morning ritual while most of the human world was still asleep. I marveled at the force of their song. I was amazed when most of the choruses had died down by 5 am.

As I returned to bed, I wondered whether humanity had failed to learn a valuable lesson from the birds. Most mornings, I stumble to the kitchen for coffee, and then head to the shower.  Unlike the birds, I do not welcome the day or break out in song to affirm that I am part of the world, that I am here, that I matter. Maybe I need a new ritual. Maybe I should be more like the birds.

I am Frances Jaeger, and that is my perspective.

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