Birdsong, or 'Hope'

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I  listen for birdsong every morning. I leave my window open all year round, even in winter. A crack is enough to let the birdsong in. Even hearing five minutes is enough to put me in positive mood, ready for the day ahead. In the winter I listen out for them even more: they help me to get up out of bed, to remember that life is good, even on dark mornings.

In the winter I love the sound of the robin’s song. It goes right to my heart and lifts me up. Listening throughout the months and paying attention to the changes over the seasons is really fun. Where I live, the bird song begins to build up and increase from mid to late February, and then by May it is like there is a whole orchestra just outside the bedroom window. The memory of these bird filled dawns also helps me through the winter months by reminding me that the seasons will change, will turn with the big wheel of life, and the riotous birdsong will be back.

When I am walking along the streets, on an errand or on my way to work, I listen out for birdsong. Sometimes I go out of my way, if time allows, to walk along the streets that have more hedges and trees.

Like in the wonderful poem below by Emily Dickinson, I am humbled by what a gift birds are. I think about how tiny they are, living their lives up against the elements as they do, the wind, rain and snow; and realise how each day is a precious day. And so I fill up their feeders with food and top up their water and say thank you.


Hope by Emily Dickinson


‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all,


And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.


I’ve heard it in the chillest land,

And on the strangest sea;

Yet, never in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.