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What do free birds sing …?

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings wrote Maya Angelou. At least the great poet/writer had a feeling for the why and how. Few of us do. Finding the joy of song sans freedom remains beyond arms reach for most of us.

When I head out the door in the early darkness on weekend mornings this time of year, the songs of the birds are immediate.

All kinds of birds visited my window feeder to stock up on suet. They make my morning walk a little cheerier.

All kinds of birds visited my window feeder to stock up on suet. They make my morning walk a little cheerier.

But what do they sing in the treetops? Do they ask their mate for food? Are they giving a cheery good morning to their avian neighbors? Do they give thanks simply because they are free to soar?

Or, given my admittedly wild imagination, do they instead sound a predawn warning: “There’s that odd guy again,” or “Kids, don’t make eye contact with him.” Or is it something else? Even the owls know of my presence. Perhaps their hoots from afar are part of some sort of tree-to-tree chain letter phenomenon decipherable only by our feathered friends.

Beats the hell out of me. But my walks are partly for them, even though I’m at ground level and them well above me.

There is a peaceful serenity to their joyful noises. They choose to chirp-tweet-peep the morning away in the face of all the harm we’ve done to them and their kind; i.e. loss of habitat and reduced tree canopies and pollution of their living spaces (to name a few indignities).

Saturday morning I’ll be up and at ’em again very early; it is the best time of the week, in large part thanks to the birds. They give me a reason to smile and feel all is right in the neighborhood. That is, until I get down to the real business at hand.

About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I was a writer by trade so one would think letters would come easily for me. It is so now, but wasn't always that way. Indeed, the first letter was written the Monday after Ellen started her freshman year in college. For years I've wondered - with no good answers - why I swiveled my office chair toward my computer screen to fire up a word processing document for that first letter. I just don't know. I just did. Perhaps it was the angst of separation or wanting to say things that had gone unsaid at that moment when we parted ways in front of her college dormitory. What was a one-off became habitual. When her brother Reid enrolled in the same college, his name was added to the salutation line. They were kids then and are adults now. No matter. The letter writing habit remains so today. I live in Brevard, North Carolina. I'm well away from where they live and don't see them nearly as often as I'd like. That's why letters, at least to me, fill the void of distance. The pages give me something to say and the space to say it. There is no assurance they read the letters; indeed, I have never asked if they do so. With the pace of their busy lives who could blame them for letting a letter sit unopened? Over time, it has dawned on me that the letters are both communicative - and cathartic. By nature, letters are about the writer; the writer can only write about their situation. Perhaps that is as it should be. It's all about the here and now from one person's perspective.

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