Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Hey, You …
I love birds.
If you didn’t know, then I’m telling you. I love birds.
I am absolutely fascinated by them. That they can fly. That they sing to each other and, so selfishly I believe, to me.
I love going to track in the morning with an entire chorus of birds scoring my every step. There’s a trio of crows who know me, too. I swear the ring leader brings me gifts of twigs and such he leaves right in my path. (Did you know crows recognize faces and hold grudges! Yep, google it.)
There is a resident red-tailed hawk I’ve named, Constance. And, on any given day, there is a visit from Changó, a brilliant cardinal; Ochún, a goldfinch; or, Yemayá, a blue jay.
When I come around the last leg of the quarter mile on the track, I always look up to the trees, thanking God, Papi, and Aita, and turning my heart to the birds.
So, in typical Aries fashion, I finally decided to do something about my love of birds. And, in typical Aries fashion, I did it in an obsessive manner.
I’ll be kind to myself and say, focused.
I researched the Audubon chapters in the DMV to see which one I might be most interested in joining.
I researched the different birds I could identity at the track and all those I’d like to see.
And then … I went on a bird watching trip!
Yes, family! On, Saturday, May 18, 2019, I went on my first bird watching walk with the Patterson Park Audubon Center.
I signed up for a walk through Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, primarily because it sounded interesting and strange at the same time to look for so much joy and life in a cemetery.
It was a gorgeous day and to say I was mesmerized by the guides would be a disservice to their passion.
Y’all, bird watchers … serious bird watchers have trained their eyes and ears to catch the tiniest movements, hear the shortest notes of a song, record color patterns, markings etc., in order to identify every single bird. Even the tiniest individuals don’t escape their expert eyes and ears.
And I, even with my brand new binoculars , couldn’t keep up. Indeed, the effective use of binoculars is an art. I need practice. (Yes, I bought binoculars … don’t judge me.)
I came to a place in my experience when I began to wonder if the birds were watching me, instead.
I wonder if they gawk at me. At my awe. My novice.
Do they have a Meechie Watching Society?
I wonder if the crows are waiting for me to bring gifts to them. Or, maybe I have it all wrong. Maybe the ring leader is putting stuff in my path to let me know he is there.
I Am, he is saying. It’s his private meditation, out loud.
The nerve of me to admire Constance and her undeniable beauty. She knows she’s divine. She doesn’t need me to confirm.
The cardinal, goldfinch and blue jay, weren’t waiting for me to be brilliant. They weren’t waiting for unnecessarily long Latin names to identify their genus, proving their existence.
They weren’t waiting for binoculars to go on sale; or, for anyone to approve their song choice.
They didn’t live and breath and sing and fly in google search results.
Where have I been all my life?
There have always been birds. They are where they have always been. Where they are supposed to be. In their business.
When I gave myself the space and the permission to look, to hear, to enjoy, to notice, they were more beautiful, still.
Right there. Flying, right there. Singing, right there. Perched, right there. Gifting twigs and such, right there.
Waiting for no one.
Waiting for me.
OMG! So I have to share with you a little of what I saw, y’all. These are pics from the web because, no, I didn’t take pictures, because it was hard enough mastering the binoculars.
Ok … the little sunshine on the top-right is a Cape May Warbler. This little man Makes. So. Much. Noise. He’s got to have Cuban and/or Dominican ancestry or Short Man Complex. Volume on extra.
The next beauty bottom-right is a Scarlet Tanager. Isn’t he divine! And their song is so beautiful. Can be mistaken for a cardinal, at first, but is actually more orange, in person, and doesn’t have that cardinal crest on the crown. Super beautiful if you’re lucky to spot one out and about.
Oh, and by the way, did you know that in bird land, males have the most brilliant color? Ain’t that some s***.
Finally, a Red-Shouldered Hawk. Raptors/Birds of Prey are my favorite … I’m sure there’s a psychological analysis in there, somewhere. But, hell … look at that bird! Awe and admiration is its birthright.