Tree Song

I don’t know why the caged bird sings. But I think I may have finally figured out why the others do.

I take walks every day down a wooded path behind my home. Sometimes so many birds are singing it sounds like a choir. Other times there are only one or two at each turn of the path. Occasionally the songs sound like a dialogue, sometimes a Bach canon. But most often the sounds are clearly ecstatic, a brimming forth of some secret joy.

I believe I have discovered the source of that joy. Each bird is singing about how beautiful its tree is. How delicately shaped each leaf as it twists in the breeze. How the broad canvas of the whole creates ever evolving shadows on the ground. How the Fibonacci architecture of the branches leads right up to the sky.

Birds never sing about what time they have to get to the bird feeder, or whether they need a bath, or the bird next door, or even that tree they saw two weeks ago. They only sing of the beauty in front of them.

Each bird sings in its own language. Birds are very smart; each knows all the languages of all the birds. But when they sing of trees they sing in their own tongue, the one they hold in their heart.

And when they fly to the next tree, birds sing about how beautiful that tree is. And I agree with them.

I have never seen a tree that was not beautiful, from smallest sapling to startling senior. And unique – no tree the same as any other– even the aspen trees (which reproduce by what is called root sprouting and are in a sense one tree) are genetically identical but never quite the same in appearance. I wonder sometimes if  the beauty of trees has something to do with their uniqueness—and if we were more aware of it in humankind, we might see more beauty in each other.

Do the trees listen to the birds? I think so. Do they appreciate the praise? I’m not so sure. The lives of trees seem unconcerned with birds, or squirrels, or humans. They have their own purposes in their long lives.

What beauty do trees sing about?

I doubt we will ever know.

Comments 3

 
Rosy Cole on Sunday, 09 June 2019 23:20

This is so engaging and so wise and so visionary and so insightful and so celebratory just because... I've been long convinced that nature left to itself does not experience the world quite as we do because, despite the often predatory consequences of The Fall, there is no redundant or treacherous malice in it. Its motives have an economy humans don't and that is all part of a survival mechanism.

Those birds do live in the moment and are already in Paradise.They are singing in their arboreal cathedral to the glory of God on this day of Pentecost.

This is so engaging and so wise and so visionary and so insightful and so celebratory just because... I've been long convinced that nature left to itself does not experience the world quite as we do because, despite the often predatory consequences of The Fall, there is no redundant or treacherous malice in it. Its motives have an economy humans don't and that is all part of a survival mechanism. Those birds do live in the moment and are already in Paradise.They are singing in their arboreal cathedral to the glory of God on this day of Pentecost.
Stephen Evans on Sunday, 09 June 2019 23:43

Sometimes I imagine the natural world looks at us and thinks: if only they understood.

Sometimes I imagine the natural world looks at us and thinks: if only they understood.
Rosy Cole on Monday, 10 June 2019 12:33

I am absolutely one hundred per cent sure of that! Seriously! Just having a dog thoroughly reveals that. They reach the bottom line far faster than humans, But the sense of it is everywhere in the animal kingdom.

I am absolutely one hundred per cent sure of that! Seriously! Just having a dog thoroughly reveals that. They reach the bottom line far faster than humans, But the sense of it is everywhere in the animal kingdom.
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