Friday, May 11, 2012

Living with “Nature-Rapt Disorder”

After hearing the first bird break the night’s silence today, I rose before dawn. The bird hadn’t cast a song as much as a one-pitch, crescendoing rivet, followed by the sweet tune of a different bird. I intended to record the orchestral efforts of my backyard birds for you since I’d failed to do so in March. However, today’s range of sound was limited and identifiable even by a novice birder like me. That is to say, there wasn’t enough going on to share with you.

One afternoon last month, my husband and I were walking home from the post office and heard Blue Jays nearby. We stopped and looked up. What we saw locked us in that uncomfortable position for some time. Above us was a flock of Blue Jays—not a few or a family, but an entire colony of feathered sapphire flitting in and out of new leaves chattering about this and that, chasing and dancing and diving and twirling. I’d never seen such a thing. Again, I wish I’d had the presence of mind to document the event for you—snap a photo, record the soundtrack—but I was too engrossed in the moment to think ahead.

What is this affliction I struggle with? I want to share these nature-rapt moments with you but get lost in those moments somehow. Can one be “mindlessly mindful”?

[Art by Alexander Wilson.]

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