To hear birdsong is to recognize life.
If ever you feel down, you need only to sit quietly in nature – a park or woods – and listen. Yes, you may hear the wind rustling in the leaves; you may even hear insects in summertime. But sooner or later, you’ll probably hear a bird. If you listen intently, you’ll hear birds yelling alarms about predators, quarreling with each other, sometimes mimicking the sounds of other birds or creatures, trilling… in short, communicating.
Just think of it! The mighty and terrible dinosaurs of Earth’s youth have, through the long process of evolution, become all our vast variety of birds. Sometimes very little birds. Sometimes beautifully colored birds. Birds who specialize. Birds who cleanse decay. Birds who sometimes form lifelong monogamous partnerships. And birds who live in almost every corner of the Earth.
Almost all of these birds sing.
When we establish colonies on places such as the Moon or Mars, one of the most alien and disconcerting things will be the silence. The absence of birds and their pleasurable messaging. Until we terraform a planet to bring an atmosphere to it, or find an earthlike substitute planet, birds can’t follow us into space. Or they may within controlled environments. For heaven’s sake, in large warehouse stores such as Lowes or Home Depot there are almost always birds living in its nooks and crannies! So why not in our space stations, helping us make the human journey into strange new landscapes?
There may still be a few places on Earth, such as an arctic desert or the parched and desiccated sand dunes of large stretches on our continents where birds are lacking, but even then, the nature programs reveal instances of hidden bird life in their nooks and crannies. Humanity evolved simultaneously with birds. In fact, they had a jump on us! They arrived first, and maybe their destiny was to help us remember Mother Nature.
What else brings us such peace, such affirmation of life, such joy at being alive? Even over the noise of cities, you’ll hear birdsong. You’ll hear God.
Judi Thomases is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire online magazine.
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