Learning How to Sing

I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing than teach 10,000 stars how not to dance. e.e.cummings

Since everything has slowed down to a crawl these days, I have lingered longer while window gazing. For the past week or so hummingbirds have appeared to browse through the pussy willows in the woodlot just behind our place. After a day or two, I gave up trying to snap their photo and have simply been enjoying their delightful aerobatics. The little wonders’ incredible high-speed dexterity are like a minor miracle. I’m thrilled to watch their shimmering green feathers rippling as their mighty little wings hold them suspended for a few seconds an arm’s length away from me.

The hummingbirds are one of more than a dozen bird species I enjoy flitting about during the daily early morning/late evening performances. Between shows, the songbirds lift my spirits with their happy trills and melodic chirps. But the crows, with their arrogance and cunning, like to break the calm and scatter the other feathered players. A multitude of energetic dramas have unfolded just beyond my picture window. Isn’t that a great term – picture window? When I was a kid, I was a little jealous of my friends whose homes had picture windows. To me the expansive view is a grand luxury, for such a visual thinker like me.

In many cities around the world these days, wildlife has been taking advantage of our withdrawing indoors and have been roaming further. This trio of ducks showed up one morning beside the beach road, which has been closed to traffic. Ducks always make me laugh. There is something about their mannerisms that I find humorous. Maybe it is all my exposure to one of my favorite Looney Tunes’ Daffy Duck. These guys were pretty funny, as they had just been swimming in a ditch as I approached, and they started nonchalantly wandering away.

Several times, when I taught writing back in China, I took my students up to the roof of the building (before the university locked the door) and had them simply gaze across the campus. The goal was for them to see with different eyes in order to expand their worldview. After the school locked the rooftop, I had my students line the classroom windows and describe what they saw. Window gazing is a time-honored tradition with soul searchers. It is surprising what you can see just past the end of your nose. To quote my favorite writer, whose birthday I share, Dr. Seuss – “It’s opener, out there, in the wide, open air.” Enjoy the view.

Published by everythingisbeachy

Read my books at: amazon.com/author/wheelerce Wheeler was a monthly magazine and weekly newspaper editor during the time he lived in China from 2007-2019. In China he worked for: Education Ministry, Tourism Ministry and Propaganda Ministry. In addition to his magazine and newspaper work, Wheeler edited and contributed to: multiple travel guides; numerous textbooks; several research and translation projects; and advertising copy for countless clients. As a university lecturer, Wheeler developed several university courses including Appreciation of Western Poetry and Introduction to Journalism. He taught Writing, Literature, Culture, Film, and other subjects. His success as a foreign teacher and editor led to Wheeler being awarded Teacher of the Year honors several times at two major universities. In addition to writing, Wheeler was an actor in China. He was on a television show; and the voice for Hangzhou Tourism as well as acting on stage. Wheeler's most unusual role was being the spokesman for a wallpaper adhesive company.

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