Happiness first came to me in my adult life when I was almost 30 and living in New York, crossing busy Madison Avenue to deliver a manuscript. A flock of geese flew overhead on their way somewhere for the winter, so close I heard the flap of their wings. A chill went through my body. My heart thumped hard in my chest. Looking up, my eyes filled with tears and a stupid grin spread across my face. I immediately felt at one with the world. What was this unfamiliar feeling?

The other night I went into our back office, resentful about having to work late. The night was uncommonly still, and the full moon shone its silvery light over the yard, which was filled with the scents of jasmine and wild fennel. Usually it’s too windy or cold to appreciate this in the evening, and I stayed out on the back deck, savoring the rare pleasure that washed over me. The house finches called sweetly and insistently to each other. The plump red-breasted male and his pale brown prospective mates flitted around the trees, never venturing into the open. As soon as I tried to get a better view, quietly so as not to startle them, they flew deeper into the great masses of ivy encroaching on all sides of our yard. I had to look carefully in order to see them, in order to uncover what could only gradually be revealed.

[Be sure to view Cornell Ornithology lab’s 2011 State of the Birds report, the nation’s first assessment of bird distribution on public lands, helping identify species in need of conservation in each habitat. It’s a great measure of our progress as environmental stewards.]


About thislittleplot

Writer, hiker, loafer
This entry was posted in Birds, Garden, Nature, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Happiness

  1. I could really relate to that first section with the flock of geese. I’ve always fantasized that a strange bird would come to roost on my shoulder completely out of nowhere — I hope it happens someday.

  2. Camie says:

    I love when that happens! It happened to me just this week. I was in a shopping mall complex heading toward the exit after compiling a shopping list in my head for the next store and an entire Mallard Duck family, including the aunts and uncles I think because there were like 12 of them, crossed the 4 lane highway on and off ramp leaving a green thicket and heading toward the creek. All traffic stopped of course to let them slowly waddle by, starting with the biggest and ending with the smallest. It was delightful to watch them pass by and a pleasure to be snapped into the present moment and out of my future planning mind.

  3. yuri says:

    what a hook of a first paragraph! i want to know more of your days in ny.

    oh my guy makes me laugh. :D

  4. Thanks, guys! Camie, loved reading about your own “magic moment,” and am so glad to know they happen out there! Chris, hope the bird thing happens for you (& for you, Yuri), too!

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