It’s a robin, I think, as the melody enters my consciousness through the window. But then it morphs into a litany of birds from cardinal to crow. There may even have been a frog thrown in for good measure.
I can’t locate the bird to see who is gifting me with its repertoire of local wildlife sounds. It could be a starling—I once lived in an apartment where the local starlings would sit on the roof railing next door every morning and tell me all they knew. But there are also plenty of both mockingbirds and catbirds hanging around.
city fades a sanctuary feathered skies
A meditation on sanctuary for earthweal. Also linking to dVerse OLN, hosted by MsJadeLi.
Red is an imaginary carpet dancing with desire, lettering the days with roses and birdwings. Red is the sky that turns the morning into an omen, the night into a full moon– catching dreams like a wayfaring balloon painting the town with stars.
The NaPoWriMo prompt today is to write a poem that delves into the meaning of your first or last name. Roig means red in Catalan.
parallel rhythms fan into a V—to lead and then to follow
opening I ride currents weaving feathers with the wind
For Frank Tassone’s #haikai challengegoose. I chose to paint snow geese. It’s not draw a bird day, but any day is appropriate for birds.
It’s been a challenge for me to get any work done that I like, both with writing and art. I decided to do some ink and brush painting for the goose. This is an unforgiving medium, but one I enjoy, and the focus required was good for me. I spent an enjoyable hour painting, ending up as always with a pile of discards, but with a few worth posting.
I am continually reminded of my drawing teacher who told us that of every 100 drawings we did, only one would be worth saving–so draw, draw, draw.
wish for bird gardens
your mind will grow feathers
float through air surprised
Another one of my postcard collaborations with the collage box Oracle. This one was done on a postcard of Monet’s “Peace Under the Lilac Bush”
I’ve been reading a book about Monet’s water lilies. He didn’t start those monumental paintings until he was in his 70s, and worked on them throughout the years of World War I, refusing to evacuate from his beloved home and gardens at Giverny. I haven’t quite reached that age yet, so I guess there’s still time for a creative endeavor or two for me as well.
There are robins. Everywhere. When I wake, early with the sun, I hear them over the street sounds of Broadway. When I walk along the path of Riverside Park they stop in front of me, deliberately, waiting to look me in the eye before I’m allowed to continue on my way. Even as I pass dozens all over the grasses on either side of the path, I hear others singing in the surrounding trees.
My daughter suspects a nest in a nearby window to her apartment—she sends a text with a recording—“day and night,” she says.
As she sits by her window working from home, she tells me she sees starlings on the window ledge across the street—“they leap off and let themselves fall a few feet before opening their wings”—we both wonder if this is normal.
I hear a whistle and turn to look—two starlings take off right in front of me and fly towards the river. I see a fledgling by the park wall. The only thing it moves as I approach cautiously is its head—with the bright yellow beak against the grey feathers, it too must be a starling—can it fly?—where are its parents? I snap a photo and walk on. When I pass the same spot, returning home, it is gone.
In the mornings the gulls swoop in groups, weaving patterns around the piece of moon that still sits ghostly in the blueing sky. They cry like cats suspended in mid-air, echoing off the buildings into my window.
A mockingbird moves just ahead of me as I cross the bridge to the park. It never stops singing, going through its repertoire while waiting for me to almost catch up as it hurries ahead again. Another day, I am walking uptown instead of down, and a mockingbird lands on the iron fence just ahead of me. It too is deliberate in meeting my gaze, making sure I stop, nod my head in greeting. Further on a catbird does exactly the same thing. A cardinal swoops down into the grass by a nearby tree, a flash of red that pauses with me before it returns to the top of the tree. I hear more cardinals, blue jays and flickers. Sparrows chatter and cover the grass and path, the bushes and trees; pigeons share the stone walkway, and once, also, a morning dove. Sometimes the pigeons visit my window ledge.
And crow. Crow has been following me around for years. Now he teases me, calling, in front, behind, from nowhere and everywhere. Every once in awhile I am the winner in this game of hide and seek, but I know it’s only because he wants me to see him, to acknowledge his appearance as well as his voice. A murder of crows appears ahead of me on one of my earliest walks, when I was still fearful of going out at all.
I’ve always walked, never having owned a car. But it was with a purpose, to get from one placed to another. Now I just walk. And I have always been aware of birds while walking. But since the lockdown they seem to be multiplying by the day, boldly communicating—something, what?
Many of the world’s cultures see birds as mediators, messengers between the human and the divine. I know what crow is telling me. He knows I need reminding of it, too: pay attention. Get out of that inner conversation you keep having with yourself and look around, listen, be where you are. Robins are symbols everywhere of new beginnings, transformation, tenacity, hope. Birds show us the power of community, the power of voices, the symbiotic relationship between the earth and all living creatures.
These are the days of Covid-19 in the city of New York. Humans are hiding; birds are out in force.
In fairy tales, those who understand the language of birds have magical powers.
places of between
no time exists
carry us home
I’ve been doing Draw-a-Bird Day on the 8th of the month for a few years now at MethodTwoMadness, accumulating most of these illustrations in the process.