Saturday, November 03, 2012

And speaking of Audubon -- a Saturday reprise

Each morning for the past few days as I approached the plank bridge over Queset Brook I've seen a flash of blue in the willows. Just a flash and my heart leaps. The bluebird of happiness.

A long way from its box, up there in the meadow. Why here? Why not? The plank bridge is a good spot for birds and people. A spreading pond. A purling stream. Orioles. Redwings. Herons. And just once, forty-five years ago, a kingfisher -- a single kingfisher, and never again.

A bluebird is enough. "A man's interest in a single bluebird is worth more than a complete but dry list of the fauna and flora of a town," said Thoreau, who carried a complete list of flora and fauna in his head. "The bluebird carries the sky on his back," he said.

An oriole makes me grin. A heron makes me gasp. A bluebird almost lifts my feet off the planks of the bridge.

Listen to Audubon: "The song of the Blue-bird is a soft agreeable warble, often repeated during the love-season, when it seldom sings without a gentle quivering of the wings." That's why we love the bluebird. Because it is so like us it cannot pitch its woo without a quiver of its wings.

(This post originally appeared in April 2010.)