Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Joyful Winter Solstice Message

When I was younger, I read Tom Brown Jr.'s books religiously. It seemed that his acute awareness of the outdoors and his talent for story telling combined to increase my awareness of both the life around me and the life within me. I offer his Chickadee Survival essay on this Winter Solstice Eve. I hope I don't upset him by posting this, but at least I have linked to his website and one of his many insightful books.
Photo by Marvin DeJong.
Chickadee Survival
from The Tracker by Tom Brown Jr.
Of all the birds, we respected the chickadee the most, even more than the hawk or the owl.........., above all of them ranked the chickadee because of its indomitable spirit.
The exuberance of the chickadee made him our idol. In the coldest weather, when other birds have gone into the brush to wait behind a dome of driven snow, for the weather to clear, the chickadee is always out, his chickadee-dee-dee ringing off the snow. When the fox has curled himself up under a small tree and let the snow drift him a blanket of insulation, the chickadee is out doing the loop-the-loops over the seedless snow. Calling louder than playing children that he is there and alive and happy about it!
A chickadee doesn't look like a good bet for survival; you could close your hand with one in the palm almost without hurting him. There are better fliers . . . But nobody flies with more reckless abandon than the chickadee, and nobody flies with more delight.
The chickadee lives by joyous faith in living. Whenever anything else curls up and prepares to wait, or die, the chickadee is out in the middle of it. I have heard them even in the middle of a blizzard, chirping with that dancing tone over and over into the cold air, as if it thinks that hiding from a storm is the craziest form of self denial.
His voice comes out of the cold silence like the last voice in the world, singing that everything which has gone under the snow is neither lost nor dead and that life survives beautifully somewhere else and will return. There is a joy in its song which says that everybody who is hiding from the storm is missing the best part.


N8 said...

Blatant anthropomorphism!

But a nice passage nonetheless... : )

Greg said...

ok, guilty as charged.... But, it's a good bird story.