there is a bird tree just down the street from me.
I don't know what kind of tree it is, other than one with green leaves that haven't turned color yet. I haven't even looked very closely at it, because it is just another tree in the parking strip of a neighbor's house that I drive past a few times a day. or I bike past a couple times a day.
in my car, I don't notice it at all. and on my bike, at 5:35 in the morning (in the dark) as I ride up the street I don't notice it at all.
but at 7 am, on my bike, returning home, this tree is the most glorious thing on my street. a smile breaks across my face as I ride past it, and I frequently laugh, and everything is beautiful and rich and right with my world for that little span of time that I hear it.
yes, I hear it.
I don't really see it, because I'm almost past it before I catch on that all of those chattering birds are hidden somewhere within the lush green covered branches of that tree.
it is a bird tree.
it's not the only one I've ever encountered, but it's my current favorite because it is so close to home and such a gift at the end of a morning ride.
there must be twenty or more birds hidden behind all of the leaves, and it's as if they are warming up for choir practice. or more accurately, they are symphony members warming their instruments before rehearsal. their voices range across the vocal field and the cacophony reminds me of the horns and strings and woodwinds all spitting out their own notes with complete disregard of each other.
these birds cannot possibly be talking to each other; they are talking on top of each other. or maybe they are all just sharing their joy of being alive, all just singing their morning prayers, each at their own time and tempo.
this is a paradoxical gift of cycling: I am there but for a moment, and I am given a glimpse, a brief audio moment, of this magical bird tree. I am left to create my own ideas of the how and why behind it. were I to be walking past, I would probably stop and stare, searching with eyes and body to understand the experience. I could stay as long as I cared to, and I would know if they voices ever joined together or if they remained in their raucous disjointed song of prayer. but because I am on my bike, I am given this transient moment, which is a present, a joy. but I have only this moment, which quickly fades as I fly down the street toward home.