March 30, 2013

Taller

Taller 
By John R. Greenwood


It was the last Saturday in March and I needed a lift. Although it was a generic winter by Northeast New York standards, it still took a toll on me. My weight was up. My spirits were a little damp. Although there were exciting things approaching in the weeks ahead, I still needed a, “good swift kick in the pants.” I decided an early morning walk was in order. I threw on a warm hat and gloves, grabbed the camera, a small writing pad, and my driver’s license (just in case a texting terrorist happens to use me for morning target practice) and out the back door I went--in search of a sign of spring. I knew I needed something special to ignite my soggy mood. I began to think about my friend the mocking bird. The mocking bird who inspired me to write one of my first published pieces, Life Is Where You Look. I couldn't think of a more appropriate sign than to see and hear some tree top tunes. 
I was a quarter mile down the road when I took a right hand turn into the office complex where my feathered friend likes to sing from the light pole tops. That's when I caught a hint of music. It wasn’t Lady Gaga coming from the Honda Civic that scooted by, it was coming from above and beyond. I tilted my head and lifted my ear to the sky. Sure as sprouting crab grass I heard it. It was a song mix that could only come from Disney magic or a mocking bird and all signs pointed to my friend. 

I am in some unexplained way convinced that this spring ritual of visiting the mocking bird at the end of my road is some affirmation from mom high above. In some warm and personal way I have taken it as a sign that her and dad are okay and that I should continue on my midlife journey with youthful exuberance. It's a simple way to reenergize my heart and my spirit. What happened next took this little story to another level. Trust me when I tell you this bird never flinched when I approached. In fact mocking birds seem to take great pleasure in entertaining anyone who will watch or listen. As I stood there leaning against the adjacent light pole I put away my camera and pulled out my pad to jot down the notes I used to create this post. At that exact moment, that white bellied bird took flight and set itself to dance. It soared in and out of the trees like a small kite in a brisk wind. She swooped and darted, she flitted and circled. Around and around a small group of trees she danced. You could see the joy in that birds flight and as I watched the choreographed performance play out, the joy in my heart swelled like a bucket of sponges. There was something extra special about that ninety-second display. Then something strange happened. I slowly pulled out my camera to capture the moment, and the second I brought the camera up in front of me the dance ended and she flew back to the top of the pole and stared down at me. She looked  right at me as if to say, "I knew what you needed. That dance was for you and no one else." I tucked the camera back inside my coat, tipped my head in respect and walked away with just what I needed, and much, much more. 


As I left the parking lot of Community Care Pediatrics I heard a different chorus being directed my way. I looked up and saw the fattest, reddest, happiest robin I have ever seen, singing her big fat heart out. Singing backup on the right was the brightest, proudest, most energetic cardinal I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Both birds seemed to be saying goodbye. It was as if the whole group had gathered in this highly populated place to take a stand and let everyone know how much joy there is left in the world. It was as if all three were sending me the same message. 

There is beauty throughout the world. You can find it when you want to. You need to trust your instincts and never hesitate to follow where your heart tries to point you.

On the last day of March I was reminded of this and how it turned a short walk down the road into a 'growing' experience. On my home my lungs and my heart were replenished and my stance; well let's just say I was walking a little taller...



4 comments:

  1. While your day was made so special by these birds, what you didn't know is that they really gathered around to see you. Their day was complete after seeing a walking tall (and smiling) human. Diane

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    1. Diane, I went back the next day and there were a pair of hawks sitting side by side in a tree waiting for me. A passing car spooked them before I could get a picture.

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  2. Great story of your morning walk. Your morning steps reminded me of Thoreau's "Walking." Agree completely with you -- beauty can be found everywhere. This morning mine was found at 6 am when I opened my front door to the burst of spring songs from all my bird friends. Good post. -- barbara

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    1. My parents fed the birds in their yard for years. It was like a sanctuary in the winter. Grosbeaks to Finches, and everything in between. When I tried in my yard I ended up with a herd of ninja chipmunks dismantling my garage.

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