The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, March 1, 2016:


“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention.  Be astonished.  Tell about it.”

Mary Oliver

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.


9 thoughts on “The Prompter Room

  1. Of course here in Hawaii, it’s easy to get out and observe most anytime. Our home is filled with huge old plantation-era sliding wooden windows, opening virtual walls to the outside. And yet there are times I’m so absorbed in working on designs that I have to force myself to shut the laptop and Walk outside, not simply gaze up, from time to time.

    This is our springtime, and mating birds abound. Our kitchen window overlooks the bird bath, settled under a strawberry guava and Malabar chestnut tree. It is here that birds of all sorts congregate to take turns at the bath. From mynah to dove, Java rice birds to the melodious laughing thrush, each warbles a unique call that I can now identify.

    However yesterday at lunchtime, I heard birdsong I didn’t recognize. Chris mentioned he’d just seen a couple of thrush bathing, and sure enough, this extremely skittish species, with juveniles who have come to this bird bath for months now, felt comfortable enough to be openly observed. There in the lower branches of the guava perched two, chirping their little hearts out. Whether mating call or other, it was a new song to me.

    Such delight!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How wonderful, Bela! Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful scene. I remember some of the birds I saw in Maui for the first time when I visited years ago, but I’ve never heard of a laughing thrush. They must be a sight – and sound – to behold, indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

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