Another enjoinder, today- Won't you watch your feeders with us? The season of counting birds for Project Feederwatch began a few weeks ago. There is still time to join. This is our 13th year of counting birds, and a bird I have been expecting, the Pine Siskin, has arrived at our thistle feeder for the first time ever. Imagine, if you will, setting a place at table, and the guest finally arriving, after a dozen years! Is there anything more gratifying?
I imagine that you might be worried about where you will find the time to watch your feeders and count the birds. I want to assure you that you can contribute just a little time, a mere five minutes per day on two consecutive days, every two weeks. You will want to spend much more time, though, once you begin. Invite a friend to join you, make a cup of tea and set awhile as you watch your feeders' visitors. It requires another kind of attention, it is a practice, a meditation even- you will love it, you will thrive and rejoice in it. Have a little patience, in the beginning, and soon, after a decade or so, you will see your Pine Siskin, and you will feel so brave and steadfast, so righteous, so hope-filled: Because you alone waited up to see the wonder of it all; you alone kept the faith.
Are you worried, also, that you lack the skills for watching and identifying? These are easily learned too, in exciting, sleuth-like observational deductions. A field guide is all you'll need, and if you like, binoculars. This is your year to learn the birds' names.
I'll know the names of all of the birds
and flowers, and not only that, I'll
tell you the name of the piano player
I'm hearing right now on the kitchen
radio, but I won't be in the kitchen,
I'll be walking a street in
New York or London, about
to enter a coffee shop where people
are reading or working on their
laptops. They'll look up and smile.
Next time I won't waste my heart
on anger; I won't care about
being right. I'll be willing to be
wrong about everything and to
concentrate on giving myself away.
Next time, I'll rush up to people I love,
look into their eyes, and kiss them, quick.
I'll give everyone a poem I didn't write,
one specially chosen for that person.
They'll hold it up and see a new
world. We'll sing the morning in,
and I will keep in touch with friends,
writing long letters when I wake from
a dream where they appear on the
Orient Express. "Meet me in Istanbul,"
I'll say, and they will.