In these dark environmental times, Beth Touchette takes solace in the enjoyment of everyday birds found all around us.
Each morning, during my half hour commute, the radio bombards me with stories about the effects of climate change, global instability and government incompetence. After I park, I sometimes realize that I am in a poor state to begin my day teaching elementary school science. If I have a couple extra minutes, I do some bird-watching.
I almost always see, or hear a pair of mockingbirds. Their complex songs cleanse the day’s news from my ears. They flash white wing spots as they dash into the sky. The long blue tails, and loud squawks of scrub jays are hard to miss, but I like looking at them with binoculars, to get a better view of their handsome white eyebrows.
After a particularly rough news morning, I plunged into the bushes next to the parking lot and saw a tiny, greenish bird with a stripe running across its eye and beak. I had no idea what it was, but it was delightful to watch it scoot along the branches, like a feathered monkey.
Birds keep moving, whether it flying, hopping, creeping, or at the very least, preening. They have no time for melancholy. I love Emily Dickinson’s poem that begins, “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul.”