As my head lay heavy on the pillow, my eyes awoke to the morning sun. I rolled over to stretch and as I did so my ears were tickled with the sweet sound of the birds chirping happily outside my window. I consider myself very fortunate. I live in California and therefore am blessed to have flowers blooming and songbirds singing all year long. It is the first sound I hear each morning, and a sweet symphony that immediately puts a smile on my face. This day was no exception.
A few hours later, I had set out for my routine walk to yoga, up and through the beautiful park and down the hill to my favorite yoga studio. As I entered the park, the sun sparkling on the city below, I saw dogs happily racing around with their sticks and balls, babies being pushed in carriages, and the trees lightly waving “good day” to me in the light ocean breeze. Then I heard it and a smile immediately came across my face. Once again, I heard the song of birds…birds all around me, dancing atop the tree tops, delighting in one of the first days of spring, singing to one another, and perhaps to me.
In that moment I was immediately transported to another time and place. I suddenly found myself back on the swing-set of my childhood school playground, swinging back and forth and listening to the birds whistling their springtime song. As I listened to the playful sound of the birds, I watched the kids playing baseball on the baseball diamond, and other kids monkeying around on the jungle gym before me. It was in this moment that I realized just how much I revered springtime, even as a child.
I grew up in the northeast, in a climate where winter is often the longest season; a place where all of the vegetation withers and the trees are left naked and barren during a long, stark winter; a place from which many of the birds flee, in search of warmer weather to the south. Each spring I would anxiously look forward to the re-awakening of the Earth: to the re-sprouting of life from her skin, to the budding of leaves, to the return of color and fresh breezes, to the sound of lawn mowers and the smell of freshly-cut grass, to the buzzing of the bees… and to the return of the springtime chirping of the birds.
As I walked through the park with a smile on my face, I was immediately reminded of the youthful innocence that the birds represented for me; a simple, happy time in my life; a time when I had no care in the world, other than to listen to the birds sing. These are the great moments in life.
I have now lived in California for almost five years, and I have never since had to endure the starkness of winter and the quiet absence of the birds. For this I am grateful everyday. It seems as though from the time I was a child, swinging on that swing-set, that I was always destined to come to California, a place where the birds would always be singing their song. The birds have welcomed me with their beautiful songs from the day I crossed over California’s border, and they have remained with me since. But on this day, when I traveled back in time to that swing on the playground, I realized just how much I appreciate them.
It seems perfectly poignant that only a few months ago, my mother unearthed a childhood Haiku poem that I had written when I was just 10 years old. She sent it to me and I have to laugh when I read it now. It seems that my childhood self always knew the birds were special and that they would eventually lead me to this place, to this beautiful home where I am awakened each day by the sweet song of the birds.
I leave you with this poem, an ode to the birds from my 10-year old self: