Bird Food

In my very first blog post, I talked about how thoughts remind me of birds–some fly through, others stay around for a while. Some persistent, annoying little ones stay around for no apparently good reason. However, for the most part, the ones that stay are the ones that are fed.

If I feed the stupid birds–like the Windex commercial birds that are always flying into windows–those are the ones that will stick around. I think I’d rather not. I think I’d like a mind that hosts beautiful birds–ones that are colorful rather than dull, ones that sing sweet songs rather than squawking, ones that don’t drop you-know-what all over windshields. I want to entertain the birds that make my brain a place of beauty, wonder, and richness.

So what shall I feed them? What do they crave? I’ve pondered this, and I have some bait I’m going to throw out this summer. We’ll see what it attracts, but I have high hopes that my mind will look less like a vulture-infested dessert, and more like a botanical garden–a haven of beauty and purity.

All that is an introduction to this: My summer reading list (created with the help of canva–the website most likely to distract me from reading this summer). Take a peek. Tell me what you think–too adventurous, too mild, too lopsided? What’s on your summer list?

the funny little bird who is to blame

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Ruth.

Ruth had a brain, as most humans do, and through this little brain passed little birds called ‘thoughts.’  Most of her thoughts were ordinary and boring and quite unoriginal, rather like plain little robins and sparrows: “I should clean my room.”  Others were slightly more colorful–blue jay and cardinal thoughts.  “I could get a cactus and name him Mr. Smith.” Sometimes–and a lot more times than Ruth would care to admit–the thought birds were the very kind of birds that were the origin of the phrase ‘bird brain;’ you know, the kind on the Windex commercial that fly into windows even though they can see someone washing it.  Thoughts like, “Trees.  They’re green.  Sometimes.”  I’m kidding about the last one–she wasn’t quite THAT bad.  But the thoughts were definitely much stupider than they should have been.

Anyhow, some of these birds perched in her brain and became reality.  For example, the cactus thought.  I’m sorry to relate to you that Mr. Smith passed on several years ago due to root rot.  Evidently, the ‘do not over water cactus’ thought didn’t make it to Ruth’s brain.  There were many thoughts like this, like the “I should clean my room” thought, that tried to find a perch, but were crowded out by others.  Who can think of cleaning their room when they’re are trees–GREEN trees–across the road?  Yes, sadly, the dumb, bird-brain thoughts often crowded the perch.

One day, Ruth had a very nice thought which she liked, and decided to feed it and keep it for a while.  It kept trying to fly off, but she liked it so much that she kept on trying to catch it and make it stay–and to her delight,  she finally succeeded.  This was certainly a wonderful realization for her–that she could influence which thoughts stayed and went.  Certainly, she could not always control what thoughts flew by her perch, but once they were there, they were on her perch and she decided which ones she wanted there.

As the years passed, she thought about home, about music, about purpose, about truth, about apathy, about yarn, about books, about flowers, about people–and she thought about writing.  Because Ruth realized that when she wrote the thoughts down, although they had been cluttered and fighting before, they suddenly smoothed their feathers and ordered themselves neatly on the perch.  These little birds that she entertained for hours while she was ironing, or mowing, or in the shower, or not paying attention during class, and which she wrote down and developed and fought over and tried to make sense of, were the very thoughts which shaped who she became, what she did, what her tastes were.

One bird flew through on numerous occasions.  This bird’s name was “why don’t you start a blog to assist you in your attempt to concrete your thoughts and beliefs and to share and discuss the afore-mentioned thoughts with other people who will introduce new thoughts and stimulate the thinking process?”  I bet you’re glad your mom didn’t name you THAT.

Well, this bird was about as obnoxiously persistent as its name [and this post, for that matter] was obnoxiously long, and one day Ruth said–“Uncle!  Enough!  I’m SICK of you dumb bird, leave.”

“If you merely act upon this thought, you know your life will be significantly improved due to the course of refinement of thinking through the exercise of rhetoric as you define and synthesize your thoughts by putting them down upon paper, or, as it were, a screen,” quoth the wordy bird. “Plus,” he added, “blogs are on computers, and computers have spellcheck.  You need spellcheck.”

Ruth sighed.  It was true, and she knew it.  Both that she needed spellcheck [speaking of the blessed creature, spellcheck doesn’t even like its own name–what’s with that?] and that she needed to continually both refine and stimulate her thinking processes.  Thus, she acted upon said thought: she started a blog.  And she didn’t really care if all her friends read it, knowing that everyone and their pet cactus named Mr. Smith has one, and that no one can possibly read all the blogs, but also hoping that a few would, and that in the future days when a thought flew through and she asked it to stay for a while, and when she finally got around to writing it down, that someone would challenge her, or see the thought in a different light, or stimulate a new thought–or perhaps maybe they would have never thought the thought that Ruth thought, and think that thought was a nice thought and think that for a little while they too might think about that thought,the thought that Ruth thought–or at least thought she thought.

That girl named Ruth, she hopes that you who read it entertain many lovely thoughts in the days to come–canaries, parakeets, bluebirds, or robins and sparrows alike, and not too many of the Windex commercial kind.