Bird Frenzy, Corte Madera | Mark Lindsay

The birds around here are a constant source of both entertainment and inspiration. I'm quite religious about tagging my images with keywords and I must have 4000 bird photos by now. I could photograph birds and nothing else, they are forever photogenic. I wish I could distill my fascination with birds down to a couple of paragraphs, but that would be futile.

I could write about birds being messengers, symbols, oracles, or simply creatures of great beauty. I could write about their intelligence, their songs, or even their seemingly good sense of humor (the crows seem to be laughing an awful lot in this yard). I could write about the bluejays that expect regular feedings of peanuts, or the 50 pigeons that fly with singular motion, it tune with a kind of navigation device unknown to me. I could write about their drunken escapades when the berries start to ferment. Or perhaps I could obsess upon the poop that they constantly drop upon my old truck.

Maybe all of the above are subjects for future blogs. Right now, it is sufficient to say that birds are our connection to the heavens. They defy the pull of the great earth. And that is enough. There are times when gravity seems relentless. It pushes down, aging us, ultimately returning us to the dust from which we came. We sag with time, our bodies slowly succumbing to forces of the planet. Birds are able to defy that reality of physics, to get above the fray. Yet, they too must return to the source, never able to fly forever. There is nothing sadder than a bird who can no longer fly. Whether wounded, shot by a hunter, or dead and still, a bird who can't soar above us is one of the most tragic things one can encounter.

A bird provides us with a sense of optimism, a feeling that freedom and lightness is a universal right. It says to us that we are ever moving and that groundlessness can be a liberating thing. Today I am thankful for the birds that grace me with their presence. I want for nothing when I am near them.