The Value of Birdsong

How often do we tune out the world outside our windows? Sometimes we truly must -- like when that jackhammer pounds on the sidewalk.  But often what's outside our window can provide a crisp, memorable moment that nourishes us and sweetens the day. And that's something you never want to miss.

This morning it was a little stuffy in my office, so I slid the window open and started to walk away, lost in thought, eyes gravitating back toward my computer screen. Suddenly I was thunderstruck, stopped in my carpet tracks, by the insistent song of a mockingbird wildly echoing short licks of other birds' songs, rapid-fire. It impersonated a crow, then a woodpecker, then it seemed to be mimicking a robin, then a sparrow, and finally a couple of other songs I didn't recognize, but clearly it knew them by heart.

How could that mimiscule mockingbird-mind flit so smoothly from one bird's song to the next -- six songs in a row -- and then, remembering them precisely, cycle back to the beginning and repeat the whole aria over and over? It was astonishing, especially when I realized I had barely noticed the sounds of all the other birds in the yard that the mockingbird had been studying.

It was a good reminder of how much we lose by simply not paying attention. When we do shut off our busy and distracted minds for a moment and heed what is out there in nature waiting to be seen, heard, or smelled, it can often open us to rich experiences.

So take a moment, pay attention, and enjoy what's out there. And if you find your mind locked on the fast track and just too busy to slow down, may we suggest a couple of helpful books. Hardwiring Happiness by Dr. Rick Hanson, emphasizes the need to dwell on the positive experiences in our day, however small, for a few extra moments in order to help 'rewire' our brains for peace and calm. In This Moment by Kirk Strohsahl and Patricia Robinson, aims to help the highly stressed mind get out of its tight mental loops and focus on the value of the rich present moment that is our continuous life. Both are excellent additions to your wellness library.

Stay relaxed,


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