Have you every heard of “bird phenomena”? Loosely speaking, they are sequences of “extraordinary and inexplicable bird appearances that seem to be connected to death.” These are Timothy Findley’s words, who penned them in his lovely book “From Stone Orchard: A Collection of Memories.” Just this morning, as dawn pulled at night’s seams, and the moon still made a crescent in the sky, I heard a strange bird call out in a song that sounded unlike anything I’ve heard. Normally I would not think anything of a bird’s call. Normally I might not even notice its sound. But this morning was abnormal for many reasons, not least that I had not slept the night before (A person should see the sun rise every now and then). Hearing this bird’s song, I felt a myself seized by a sublime moment of existence. Beauty. Its echoes reverberated in my head a half-dozen times. I wondered if I’d ever hear that song again.
But death? I do not interpret this bird experience as being foreboding of any loss of life. In fact, the sequence of hearing the bird just after completing a chore was life giving. It coincided with a break in the atmosphere—dawn emergent—and the satisfaction of having made it through the night. But if something did die, it is a piece of my shadow. Having spent the wee hours of the night clearing my path for the days to come, I greeted a morning with a lighter load behind me.
Or so it goes. I know very little about birds, and less still about how this orchestral movement of life is sometimes so perfectly syncopated. What I do know is that I should be feeding the little creatures so we spend more time together. As thanks for that experience and other experiences to come.