Kyo Maclear takes us through a particular point in her life and gives us snippets into her thoughts all through when she went birding with a new friend. The author accompanied a musician/photographer Jack Breakfast (David Bell) for a year of bird watching in Toronto. I assumed she was either interested in learning about ornithology, the study of birds, or would take up bird photography. But in fact, many life lessons were shared with readers, including chapters on smallness, waiting, roaming and regrets. One that especially stayed with me was that big nature trips aren't always necessary. We can gain so much nature and wildlife from visiting city parks, marinas, patios and wooded trails.
I appreciate Maclear's descriptive passages and comparisons like spring roads in Toronto resembling a grey margarita mix and camp being an introverts nightmare.
I know what Maclear means when she writes about her struggles with inactivity. She explains that she came to realize that a lull need not be filled with activity, some of it unimportant. Isn't it a goal for many of us to achieve a serene state of mind, and learn to embrace silence? We can learn much from our cats, who while they are hunters by instinct, they also really know how to bask in leisure. I envy my ginger tabby who gets such pleasure from napping for hours in a sunbeam.
The author's description of living in a neighbourhood of incarcerated children is also something I can identify with. Quite often, especially in great weather, I wonder where are all the kids? I live near a grade school, yet only ever see kids walking home after school. It's not at all like where & when I grew up. You could always see children playing outside. Inside was reserved for snow storm days. Are 21st century kids experiencing nature, or just virtual realities?
So Birds Art Life isn't about birding. It's more about what birds tell us about life. How observing birds, which is art, can give us life lessons. Like when Maclear came upon the baby goldfinch that fell from the nest, and her automatic instinct was to care for it. Her dilemma is one that women often face. Do we make the nurturing, caring choice, or a practical, non sentimental one?
What the peregrine falcon symbolized was of particular interest. In a grey concrete jungle, nature & beauty needs to be found in the burst of colours and flight of birds in among the buildings and downtown allies. It reminds me of in times of despair, notice collateral beauty.
I received Birds Art Life in a GoodReads giveaway.
Until next time,