For Tuesday, March 1, 2016:
“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”
A few minutes ago, I stood at a window and watched and listened to a Carolina wren, perched on the top rim of the chiminea in the yard, sing his first song of spring. I’ve heard the wrens sing plenty of times, but I’ve never seen one sing before.
It was a case of being in the right place at the right time, I guess. The TV is muted, the heat system wasn’t roaring, there were no neighborhood noises or dogs barking, and I happened to walk by the window just as the wren started to sing. I didn’t expect to see him so close to the house and it took me a minute to find him. Except when they’re here for food, they’ve always been hidden from sight, usually in the underbrush across the street, so I looked over there first – but when I did, I just stood at the window and watched.
As the plump little guy sang, the white on his throat billowed out above his rust-colored breast feathers. Each crystal note of his song carried bright through the cold air into the house, and I watched as he moved around the rim to reach all the directions. He sang from his perch for almost five minutes.
This little interlude is thrilling: not only did I see the male as he sang, this is the first time he’s performed in this yard. I hope that means he intends to nest here – what a delight that would be. It also means that the spring mating season has begun, so spring must be close on its heels.
I’m a big believer in gazing out windows every chance I get. I’ve seen beautiful and unexpected things by so doing. Sometimes fleeting glimpses truly are ‘right place, right time’ occurrences, but if our eyes aren’t trained outside, even those are gone, with no one to remark on them or to give thanks for them.
So I make it a habit to stand or sit at each window here in the house for as long as I can at least once a day and just watch. Even if I don’t see anything, it gets me on my feet and clears my brain.
I recommend it highly – and every once in a while something astonishing happens. Now there’s a song in my heart to start this beautiful day, thanks to a cheeky and plump little brown job of a wren.