Monday, April 26, 2010

The Bird

As I was sitting on my terrace one evening I watched a medium-sized black bird with an orange beak as he hopped across the lawn. He hopped a couple of times, stopped, seemed to listen, look around and then hopped on again. Sometimes, between hops, he would peck at something on the ground.

Watching him made me wonder how that bird sees his world. Birds have keen eyesight and undoubtedly he knows who his immediate enemies are. But, what about humans? Does he know what we are? Are we just obstacles in his search for food or nest-making materials? Does he see us as monsters that are slow and predictable and therefore are not an immediate danger to him?

I tried to entice the bird to come perch on my finger by imitating his whistle as best I could - no luck. I know that the whistle wasn't perfect, but I was hoping that it would be close enough to at least get a reaction out of the bird. I don't know what I would have done with him anyway, I guess I was trying to show him that he had nothing to fear from me.

Without bird-in-hand I continued my philosophizing. For instance: Does this bird have any concept of time, does he care about yesterday or about tomorrow? How does he see his life as a whole - if at all?

Sometimes I envy the birds I see crossing the lawn or the sky above it. They seem to be living for the moment - the flight, or the worm on the ground. They don't seem to be burdened with scruples, regrets, memories, plans for the future, or with thoughts about growing old.

Sometimes I wish I were a bird.