edu180atl: stephen kennedy 12.6.12
December. Songbirds frequent the feeders far less often. Seed lasts way too long. The weather is nervously tropical. But still, it’s a loss, the birds. Dried leaves mat the grass, pinecones camouflaged in what shade they can find, the chairs on the back deck too rarely occupied.
Autumn is a subtle breathing in, a nuanced heartbeat. Without the music, those bird-calls, an absence – that loss again – pervades the backyard. I recall the passing of a friend, last spring. She loved to fly. Hang-glide. When it’s gray out, I imagine her soaring across the sky like an angelic dove, clearing the charcoal clouds.
Today: finally time to fill the feeders – thank goodness! The black-oil sunflower seed and the pale safflower seed clack down the plastic tube. That charmed clattering: like the wild, innocent music of the children coming into school in the morning: dancing voices, a precise disharmony of laughter, an accidental symphony of cymbals and strings and triangles and piccolos and flutes all playing to the walls of the hallways. Like the birds, the children sing until all emptiness is emptied out, and I learn that only joy is left.
My songbirds are off somewhere, as is my friend, singing in a safe silence. At a frequency just out of my range. As I close my eyes, the feeder full, I delight to the echo of children racing down the hallways at school. Their ecstatic twittering, their chirruping voices, the flapping of those extraordinary wings.
About the Author: Stephen G. Kennedy…Is the Head of Trinity School in Atlanta, the father of creative triplet seventeen-year-olds, and the husband of a brilliant Episcopal priest. They all love birds, cats, and children.