An autumn gift, just in time

Late this afternoon I went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for my mom, who isn’t feeling very well right now.  As I left the store and crossed the vast parking lot to my car, I suddenly heard, over the noise of cars and traffic …

Red-winged blackbirds. Singing. Trilling, filling the air with their songs.

I stopped next to my car, shopping bag with mom’s pills in my hand, and just listened, entranced. I’ve always loved birds and loved listening to birdsong, but I can’t really identify many of them. Was that a robin? A meadowlark? A flicker? A wren?

But I know the song of the redwinged blackbird by heart.

Many years ago I was canoeing around a pond at dusk while Mr Wren fished for crappie and bass from the shore. We were way out in the countryside, surrounded by low mountains, vast stretches of wildland and a few small farms, and it was very quiet.  I dipped the oar into the still water as softly as I could, not wanting to break the sweet silence even with the sound of a splash as I glided along. I was waiting for the muskrat I’d seen duck under the surface of the pond to reappear.

And then, to my right, a bird trilled. It was close. I looked, and there, in a thick stand of cattails was perched a red-winged blackbird, his bright scarlet and yellow shoulder caps glowing against his jet black feathers. He trilled again, his beak opened wide, his bright inky eye on me. I stopped rowing and sat still, watching. Listening. I was absolutely entranced. There was nothing in the world but me and that blackbird.

He flew off after a while. I didn’t hear him again. But that moment has remained utterly clear in my memory, one of those moments filed under “precious.”

And now, today, in one of the uglier places one can be in the world—a big asphalt parking lot in front of a ubiquitous grocery store—I was being regaled with not just a redwing song, but an entire redwing chorus. It sounded like there were dozens of them. A flock of blackbirds, every one of them singing the end of the day.

I looked for the birds. There were parking lot trees dotted here and there, but I could see no blackbirds in any of them. None sitting on the lightposts, either. In the end, I gave it up. The air was full of song, but the singers were invisible. I drove back to mom’s house, smiling like a goof and feeling like I’d been given a very special gift.

I’m grateful for it. I’ve been homesick lately, wishing for my own home in the mountains, where I wake up to birdsong instead of traffic noise every morning, and where I’m surrounded by a forest of evergreens, whispering in the breeze. Hearing those blackbirds singing today was like a cool balm to my soul. And I’m grateful, too, that autumn has finally arrived with her cooler days and nights and beautiful colored leaves. I’ve had more rheuma pain lately, no doubt because of the changing barometer, but with redwing blackbirds to listen to, I don’t mind.

Click here to listen to a redwing blackbird sing. Scroll down a bit to find the recordings of the various calls and songs.


8 thoughts on “An autumn gift, just in time

  1. What beauty! I hope there are many such moments for you this autumn. Please give my best to your dear Mama and be good to yourself, liebe Zaunkönigen.


  2. Isn’t it great how we can be instantly transported back to serenity by a simple bird call. I don’t blame you for wanting to get back to the mountains, hope you can soon. We have purple martins that come in the spring and leave out before winter. Donna and I love to sit on the patio and watch and listen to them.


  3. What a lovely post. Your illustrative writing never fails to transport me to the shared experience. I’m sorry your mother is not feeling well. Best to you both.


  4. I have an affinity for birds and I do believe they have one for me as well. I have been known to be visited by birds on many a strange circumstance. I just love when they sing like that! Terrific post. Sorry you are having home sickness of late.


  5. This story took me back to misty mountain mornings, bundled in a sweater, hot coffee in hand and just listening to the beauty of nature. Stay well.
    J.G. “the old lady”


  6. Sorry your Mom is not feeling well – hope she is doing better soon!
    Lovely post! Thank you for sharing!
    Some folks think happiness is a state that can be maintained when in fact it is transitory; moments just like this. We only need to recognize them and savor them. May you have many more of them!


  7. I am a 45 year old male. I was diagnosed with R.A. about 6 years ago. This disease has changed my life. When it started, I knew little of what to expect and how this disease would progress. I started reading about it but since the symptoms, etc. didn’t match my condition at that time, I relaxed and had a false sense of relief. I assumed it must be a mild form and that I will be fine.

    However my body started to feel the full power of R.A. after about a year and I started consuming a cocktail of allopathic medication. My body started to crumble – pain, inflammation in all possible joints, lack of strength, mental fatigue, confusion about the future and a total surrender to the disease. I also lost a successful business and that hurt me mentally and financially.

    The allopathic medication proved to be of little help and was almost (I was able to move with great difficulty) bedridden for about 18 months.

    This is when I decided to fight. I had to. The doctors were not able to give me a satisfactory recovery plan. I decided to try alternate routes to recovery. First with Ayurveda and then with Homeopathy. This new combination helped me. My body started to respond and this fuelled my quest for more alternate medical therapies.

    Today I use combination of Ayurvedic & Homeopathic medicines, I do Accunpucture, Yoga & Urine Therapy besides exercises to strengthen my body. It’s been more than a year since I stopped allopatic medication and now depend solely on natural remedies. Besides natural medicines, I also stick to diet that’s suitable to my body.

    My ESR (sedimentation rate) which was 130 has come down to 30 & CRP which was 80 is now 11 in about a years time.

    I believe that our body is capable of healing itself but sometimes we just have to provide the right stimulus for healing. If the stimulus is nature based (non chemical) the impact maybe slow but definitely long lasting and without any side effects.

    I have benefited from natural remedies and hope this information is useful to people with problems similar to mine. Also if anyone does benefit, please pay it forward and educate others.


Comments are closed.