Something interesting happened to me recently that reminded me JUST how much magic happens around us in this world that we take for granted, or that we are simply not present enough to see and experience in all its beauty and wonder. This lesson I learned from the White Crowed Sparrow - a bird I will now forever cherish and champion in my heart.
I was in a conversation recently with a friend about birds and bird songs. As one might be thinking, yes, this was an unusual conversation topic, but nonetheless it captured my intrigue. Suddenly a very familiar and nostalgic bird song popped into my head - its one I've heard at least a hundred thousand times in association with my favorite place in the world: The sleepy little coastal town of Neskowin, my first home and the place for me where life begins and ends. My friend could not at the time help me identify the bird through my strained vocal imitation....and true to form, a quest of several weeks began. A quest to identify the bird who sang the songs of my childhood.
The next morning a very magical thing happened. I awoke to the song of my bird! It was like being serenaded into awareness. Awareness of the present moment, awareness of wonder, delight and joy!! I laid there for some time, listening to my bird, taking it all in and pondering. Had this bird been singing to me every morning and I had simply not opened my ears to hear it until just NOW? How is it that this particular bird song carries so much significance to me and so much nostalgia and yet i'm only recognizing it after all these years? I am a singer, and I love songs, how have I not been appreciating the most basic, fundamental and divine songs of the natural world all this time?
When I left for work and continued on with my day, another magical thing happened: I suddently became deeply aware of the exquisitely nuanced choir of bird songs all around me, and around any of us at all times!! This was a powerful moment, a flooding of auditory stimuli and a deep immersion into the NOW. It was like hearing the world for the first time with the ears of a baby...and like falling in love with life all over again.
After several more weeks, my perseverence finally led me to be able to conclude that the ellusive melody that haunted me (in the best way) was that of the White Crowned Sparrow. It was not until I returned to my home of all homes in Neskowin recently that I was able to solve this mystery. There, the White Crowned Sparrow seemed to have a never ending and prominent solo amongst all the other singers in the choir - no wonder I had felt such a strong association with that song and this place. Funny, I thought, how we can grow these kinds of strong attachments without having any awareness of them at all.
Now that I've be formally and officially introduced to "my bird", I feel an even deeper gratitude for his presence in my life for all of these 32 years...and for his role in creating yet another "power of now" experience for me. But as an added bonus, my bird, along with all his choir buddy friends now serve as a constant cue and reminder to shift my awareness back into presence whenever I stray. Nature has proven to me yet again, that all it takes is willingness to hear the magic in this world.
For those who are now curious what my beloved White Crowned Sparrow sounds like, you can hear it HERE
Mindful Trails to you and enjoy the ride.