Indigo Bunting

A tiny spot of neon-bright blue shined in the middle of the big, privet-choked field that separates the road where I walk from highway 441. A very small bird stood out against the tangled background like a drop of purest blue. An Indigo Bunting. And it chanted a song as bright as its color, sweet-sweet, chew-chew, sweet-sweet, that rang clear, even through the constant traffic noise of the highway. 

It was sitting in the top of a bare dead branch that stuck up above the leaves and flowers of a chinaberry tree, facing the morning sun and singing and singing. It’s the first Indigo Bunting I’ve seen here this season – one of our last summer birds to return. An Indigo Bunting is a very small, compact bird, intensely blue all over. It prefers shrubby, weedy habitat with dense cover, like this old field. If we’re lucky, it may stay here to nest.

Somehow this morning that little spot of color lifted my spirits immensely. As I walked, my thoughts had often wandered to other things, especially to the changes the coronavirus pandemic has brought into our lives. I think I’ve known from the beginning that this is not something that would soon be gone, though there was the temptation to think of it that way. Our lives are likely to change for a very long time, though we don’t yet know exactly how. And today this was much on my mind. Despite the actions of our governor and the president, and despite the very natural desire in us all to get back to our normal lives – it simply isn’t going to happen easily. Or soon. And I think that’s just very hard to fully comprehend. And even harder to accept and begin to adjust, to figure out exactly what kind of changes we need to make, and how. 

So this morning these thoughts and many more were on my mind, when the cheerful song and brilliant blue of the little Indigo Bunting brought me back to the moment. This moment. This day. This small miracle of a tiny, beautiful bird, singing in an overgrown field.

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