Yesterday evening I was sitting outside listening to the neighborhood birds getting ready to end their day. Suddenly a neighbor came outside and screamed some assorted nastiness at her children. It was interesting that all the songbirds stopped singing in response and a crow started scolding loudly … even the birds were disturbed by poor human parenting techniques!
I’ve been reading a book this week called, If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland. It’s an older writing book (originally published in 1938) but it came highly recommended to me by several writing friends so I thought I’d give it a read.
Last night while listening to the birds, I decided to put some of the author’s suggestions into action and actually pulled out a small notebook and wrote (by hand!) about my direct obervartions of the birds and the evening. I can’t even really remember the last time I wrote something — other than college classroom notes — by hand. There was something very freeing and organic about not typing or looking at a computer screen.
Essentially I just gave myself the “assignment” of being fully present in the moment as I was sitting idly on my back deck. And then describing what I heard and thought and saw. No worries about grammar, spelling, word choice. Almost stream of consciousness but with a specific focus on the “now” of what was happening around me.
I had no intention when writing last night to share it with anyone, but I thought this morning, “Hey, what the heck. I wonder what my blog readers would think about a severe change in writing style?” LOL! Scary to let my scratches and scribbles from last night out in the public arena. So here are last night’s scribbles:
“Chip.” “Cheep! “Chip.” “Cheep!” “Chip.” “Cheep!”
The goldfinch conversation went on repeatedly, slowly alternating a bit faster, until eventually it was a two-part duet of “Chirrup!” in harmony. Two birds speaking as one from two trees.
The sun, low in the sky, hadn’t begun turning the sky amber or scarlet, but was behind and below the cherry tree. The tree was not so much back-lit as lit from within.
“Shuddup! Sit down! You’re a slob!”
The distant crow scolding now, too. In response to the angry attack of the small personhood next door? The crows were silent until the human element punched a hole in the sounds of the neighborhood’s __________. What? Symphony? No, not quite.
“Kitty! Puss, puss, puss!” from the house behind.
Then, “You’re such a weenie!” from next door.
Chip and Cheep have moved to a further perch. I can’t say I blame them. Even my son relocated from the noise.
“Put your feet on the floor!”
I wish there was a volume control for the neighbors.
CRACK! … crack … The sudden sounds of early July’s upcoming holiday begin, startling the dogs.
“Arf Arf Arf! Arf Arf Arf!”
Listening beyond the immediate area, I hear … what? A small plane? I bet it’s yellow. A yellow plane would’ve been the perfect visual against the blue and cloud-whisped feathered sky.
Bees. Wasps. Hurrying back to the hive? The first outing of summer. There should be, must be, magic in the honey made on the Solstice.
The cherry blooms are dry — hanging their brown skeletons amid the summer leaves. The bees still search for remnants of Spring’s pollen. “Come see my petunias, little bees! The rose geraniums are warm and ripe. I may not eat them, but you may enjoy their offering of feast and festivity.”
The beautiful, delicate web between two planter boxes is being spun by a Weaver almost too small for my fading eyes to discern with certainty. I thought the little Weaver was a dust speck — until the dust began working on the web’s interior.
Rereading and typing this up now, I can almost feel the warm evening air moving across my face again, and the scented petunias and geraniums infusing the air with their quiet scent. Mmmmm … Too bad the weather won’t be as nice today.