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Odes

Ode to Birds

Birds are superlative. In studying my masters, I delved into the world of birds from their physiology to their behavior to their epic feats. Aside from their being the epitome of freedom, it is hard not to feel inferior when you are trying to track something that can see you better than you can see them. Their capabilities of flight, vision, and being able to sing multiple notes at the same time all while eating are astounding. To envy a bird floating from one ridge to the next while you toil below is one thing. To appreciate their ability to fly across the greatest barriers in the world and the epic requirements therein is quite another. I have always been impressed by their abilities, and that esteem has only grown the older I get and the more I know about them. As one of the major groups of fauna in the kingdom animalia, their variation comes as no surprise, yet they tend to be good looking as a rule, majestic, cute, colorful, or beautiful. A feather is a singular thing of beauty and an architectural marvel of evolution. They are a link through the ages to the dinosaurs that so consumed a major portion of my youth. Their songs are synonymous with joy. Their social structures and habit of home-building give us a sense of connection with them. They are explorers. They are colonists. They are the seasons. Among birds, birds of prey have always been idols for people. The spirit of youth that feels it could sprout feathers and take flight with the falcons and eagles. The otherworldly powers of owls that hunt at night in uncanny silence give us a sense of magic. The intelligence of the corvids including ravens, crows, and jays permeates our very fables. They represent so many symbols to us from birth in storks to love in songbirds to peace in doves to strength in eagles to death in vultures. I personally love the sight and sound of birds. It is a joy and inspiration to watch them. They represent a large part of why I believe my garden to be healthy. Even, when many of the plants and critters have gone dormant, there are still the juncos (junco hyemalis) flitting about on the top of the snow and in the branches. The rare sight of an accipiter on the property is a special treat. Some of my favorites runs are to locations where I can see the uncanny sight of waterfowl in my desert state. The migrations of birds and soaring of hawks are the base of many conversations with my dad. They inspire me as so many others. Their behavior and flight intrigues me. Their presence comforts and delights.