the starling and me


“Put brain in gear before opening mouth” — that’s what my dad used to tell me when I was younger. I was a chatterbox (do you remember the wooden phone on wheels?), always asking questions.

I still process out loud, but just as often I talk to myself silently. I’ve learned not to verbalize everything, so the inside of my head is filled to overflowing with talk and ideas, only some of which I manage to translate into action. For example, I’ve worked out what I want to say in my email reply, but sitting down and typing it becomes a chore because, in my mind, I’ve already replied and moved on. The moment I think of something should be the moment I do it, but I hesitate, and the moment is gone.

I think I could learn something from this starling, chattering away with her friends while she works, clambering on the suet cage, pecking at fallen seeds on the snow, talking and working at the same time. She has no baggage, no tasks untended, no projects piling up, no future plans. She lives in the moment, and she moves on.

If you’ve ever heard starlings perched outside your window, you’ll have heard their colourful language of bubbles, squeaks, catcalls and exclamations. They love to tell stories. I think if I ever get my brain examined (as people occasionally suggest), the brain surgeon would discover a flock of starlings chattering away inside my head.

Photo taken on January 27, 2011


between the sea and sky

Today is the day after Labour Day. Today is a good day to go back to work, back to school, back to whatever it is that got put aside for the summer. The days are getting shorter with the turning of the year, and they will go by quicker with all the activities that start up again to fill evenings and weekends. I find the hint of autumn weather invigorating — the cooler temperatures remind me of the excitement I used to feel about the first day back to school. There is a brisk wind blowing in from the sea, a wind of change and opportunity. Today is a good day to spread your wings, to let the wind lift you up and send you flying!

Taken on May 31, 2009