Back in May, my husband and I went to Long Point (aka: birdy heaven) and went on a great walk in Backus Woods with the ever-knowledgeable and all-round-fantastic Jody Allair, who recommended that I buy (and use) the Larkwire app up improve my birdsong-recognition skills (ie: to GAIN some song-recognition skills, but Jody is too kind to ever put it in those terms, but we’re among friends here, right? so why not be brutally honest).
Anyhow, fast-forward a few months. I’ve been spending about 10 minutes on Larkwire birdsong quizzes every day and though it drives my fabulous husband absolutely bonkers (I suppose I could do birdsong quizzes when he’s not at home, but that would obliterate about 98% of the fun). AND…yesterday morning I went out on my walk and recognized a NORTHERN FLICKER! a DOWNY WOODPECKER! and all the usual suspects. But that I could recognize these birds exclusively by song felt nothing short of miraculous. So…lots of work to be done still — there are, obviously other birds in Ontario apart from the 20 songs I seem to have “mastered” — but I feel like my neighborhood has grown richer (in my mind) from the experience of recognizing what it is I’m hearing.
QUICK NEWS FLASH: I just looked out my window and saw a person whose gait I distinctly recognized. I grabbed my binoculars and, sure enough, it was my almost-97-year-old grandmother walking up Yonge street, hatless, in the 42 degree Celsius heat, out for her mid-day constitutional stroll. Wow. Nuff said.
Addendum to the preceding paragraph: I don’t always use binoculars to look at people on the street from the eighth floor of my building. But sometimes I can’t resist.
I’ve also been consuming vast quantities of Ontario peaches. They are melt-in-your-mouth delicious. No, actually they’re spill-all-over-you-and-make-a-mess-of-your-new-white-pants delicious. Full disclosure: I eat my peaches while standing at the kitchen sink.
And for those of you wondering: I still haven’t managed to learn the 3rd movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight. It’s slow going. But I’m back at the Czerny and more than half-way through op.299. Humbling, slow-going, but also kind of fun in its constancy. I’m realizing that these studies will always be HARD, no matter how much I play them and work at them, but every day they’re a little less hard, a little more familiar, a little more — dare I say — pleasant. It’s kind of like learning bird songs. And writing, too.
And TA-DA! Out of the blue one day, you might just recognize the song of a Northern Flicker.