Category Archives: Beauty

Stress and the Warbler

“By when do you think you’ll have that report ready?” demands one email. The phone rings, it’s a sponsor asking me to the perform a magic trick involving transforming 40 hours’ worth of labor into one day’s work. Just then, it I remember that a conference proposal is due tomorrow at noon! That’s right, noon! Tomorrow!

The stab of mounting obligations sends my neck spasming. In a rolling wave my lower back joins in, undulating with pain. My heads starts to tighten and pulse. I’m officially overwhelmed, “stressed out” as they say.

As though to save me from myself, just then a sun-speckled, golden-winged warbler (vermivore chrysoptera) alights on my office windowsill. Given the time of day, the sun’s light hits the south-facing window and turns the pane’s glass into a mirror. This friendly warbler believes he sees another bird; in effect, he’s come to visit his twin.

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A few hops and and several wing flutters later, he’s looking right at me. I gesture some unintelligible “hello”; he gently hops three times in reply. I slip into imagining that I’m him. I’ve just flown from a nearby abandoned field (my favorite land type), and now I’m seeking camaraderie in its sundry forms. As quickly as it came, this meditation (or “flight of fancy”, if you will) propels my lazy mind and body out into the rich daylight outside.

Out here a sweet northwesterly breeze tingles the hair on my arms. Soft whitewashed sunlight warms my upturned face. The melody of the warbler’s and his comrades’ song drowns out the slight whoosh of the few cars. All worries about my future obligations crumble under the weight of this luminous present.

I walk to get a good view of my second-story office window and my warbling ally. It seems my visitor has moved on (I hope to his happy place, like a sapling-dappled pasture). Peering up in the direction of where he perched, I offer, perhaps five notches above a whisper: “thanks for stopping by, friend!”

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