The birds were singing outside my window — so many of them. Their voices were strong, cutting into the silence. Looking out from my window, I suddenly thought, "Who put the song in a bird?" Once the question surfaced, I could not escape it. There were many other things to do that day, yet nothing seemed as important as this question, and that I share it with others.
My son is a science teacher. He was cleaning out the shed when I asked him what he thought. He hesitated and then responded. "I would say natural selection. One bird trying to attract its mate finds a way. It's his song."
It is a reasonable answer, I thought, but then another surfaced. My daughter was taking a walk on the boardwalk. She called me from her cell phone to chat. Instead, I asked, "Who put the song in a bird?" "It's their own uniqueness," she answered. "God put the song there to lift our spirits."
Ferida, a long-time friend, shared these thoughts when I asked her the question: "Joy put the song in a bird," she told me. "There was such a strong feeling of joy in the bird that he had to express himself so the first thing that came out was a song."
Seven-year-old grandson Ben thought birds copy us. "They learned to sing by listening to us sing," he told me with some authority.
Rosemarie was sitting on a nearby porch, crocheting. There were birds singing as we spoke. "God put a song in a bird so that we can each wake up to a song, even if it is just from a bird."
Granddaughter Jenny, 13, was sipping a cold glass of water when she thought about it. "When the human race is upset, we depend on animals to cheer us up. A bird's song brings smiles." And then she smiled thinking about it.
There were other answers. Mother Nature received credit also. Putting it this way, Bill, an e-mail friend, reported, "Mother Nature put the song in a bird so we could communicate. Ever whistle back at a bird? Invariably, it will return your version. It's up to your imagination to figure out what you are both talking about."
Why was one song different than another, some wondered in response. Others shrugged, sending me a look that suggested there was no answer. And I was quite silly searching for any.
But it was such an intriguing question I could think of nothing else all day. Just asking it brought me such delight. And excitement. As if I were on a journey with the destination yet unknown.
Certainly I had my own ideas about the singing birds. It was very clear when I fed them in the morning, when I heard their chatter and their constant chirping as they sat on telephone wires, as they flew past me, as they perched on my porch railings, as they filled the air with their sounds, that their songs were there to remind us that for some questions, there is not just one answer.
As there is not one song.
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