Cheep Therapy

“I realized that if I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.”

Charles Lindbergh

When I recently expressed regret at my paucity of posts, Benjamin asked why I couldn’t just post pictures. “Don’t you think your readers would like that?” he said.

Good question. After all, when I resumed writing on my blog after my recent hiatus, I promised to write shorter posts. A quick scroll down the page reveals just how well I’ve lived up to that promise. Yep, I’m as long-winded as ever.

It seems I still struggle with believing that my more modest writing efforts are worth posting. Sure, I’ve written stuff, but I couldn’t bring myself to post it. Same thing with posting just pictures. I do okay with my point-and-shoot, I reckon, but anyone that reads blogs regularly knows just how many blog photographers out there are professional level. I am often in awe of the photos I see on blogs, so I start feeling shy about posting nothing but my sometimes comparatively blurry pictures.

Why is it so hard not to compare yourself with others?

Last week, something happened that knocked us all for a loop. I don’t want to get into it here, but suffice to say, it brought back memories that we thought were long buried. Heartbreaking, hurtful memories.

I did what I always do when I’m sad—I went outside. When I stepped out on the porch, our yard was full of robins. Probably at least a hundred or more. I love robins. Sure, maybe they’re not the brightest birds in the biosphere, but I love the way they hop. Hop. Hophophophop. Peck ground for worm. Hop.

So I sat on the porch and watched them hop for a while. Hop. Hop. Peck. Hophophop. Peck. Hop. Hophophop. Pretty soon, my fists unclenched, my breathing slowed, and I wasn’t thinking of a thing but the hophophop of the robins in my yard. And I realized just how therapeutic birds are for me. They calm me—whether I’m watching them hop, admiring the grace of their flight, or laughing at the way they splash with abandon in our birdbath.

So, thank you, my avian friends. Thank you, hophophopping robins. Thank you, little sparrows splashing so happily in puddles on the porch. Thank you, bluebird, who left me that pretty feather by the back fence. Thank you, goldfinches, for the way you perch on my coneflowers to eat seeds, steady even after the coneflower bends with your weight. I promise to plant even more flowers and shrubs next year, so all of you will have seeds and berries to eat in the leaner months.

It’s the least I can do for friends like you.

“Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”

Henry Van Dyke


21 Responses to “Cheep Therapy”

  1. Darla Says:

    I really like this post, from the catchy title to the honesty of the writing to the bird-friend photos to the reflective quote at the end. I don’t follow very many blogs but the energy and essence of yours is one I’m drawn to. Please don’t be shy! 🙂 P.S. I find myself particularly attracted to the final photo — this past year I seem to appreciate more and more the patterns of Gaia as meditative portals.

  2. Martha Says:

    I can really relate to what you’ve written, Beth. My little feathered friends bring so much joy and peace in my life. I keep planting flowers and putting up feeders and adding birdbaths so they can keep stopping by for a visit. The more birds that come by, the happier I am. And the robins with their ‘hophophophop’ are some of my favourite visitors. What would we do without these little critters? It is, after all, the simple things in life that put a smile on our face and warmth in our heart. I do hope that whatever made you so sad goes away. In the meantime, there’s the great outdoors 🙂

    What a lovely post. Amen.

    (P.S – I think posting photos with very few words is a great idea.)

  3. Elora Says:

    What an absolutely delightful post, Beth! It was equally as therapeutic fo me, reading your gentle words and savoring your lovely photos. Thank you!

  4. betsyfromtennessee Says:

    Hi Beth, Your pictures are incredible…. I tend to like the ones that are just natural –without all of the crazy enhancements which some people do… SO–keep ’em coming!!!! Benjamin is CORRECT….

    Yes, the birds and just being outside do bring so much joy to our lives. Anytime I feel down for any reason–I just sit and enjoy watching the birds… Does wonders!!!!

    Great post…

  5. wesley Says:

    Your loyal readers (and fans) love your photos and all of your posts–long or short. Benjamin is wise–listen to him!

  6. eemilla Says:

    I love your long winded posts, and I love your picture posts too. I thought the heron was my favorite photo today, but the final collection of hoppity hoppity robin tracks won me over. Sending you blessings and peace, and most certainly looking forward to your next post whether it be wordy or wordless.

  7. sweetflutterbys Says:

    I look forward to your posts, no matter how long or short they are! The pictures are beautiful, as usual. You are blessed with two wonderful talents, writing and photography. No need to compare yourself to anyone else with those talents 🙂

  8. Jayne Says:

    I like the words… lets me into your heart and makes the photos even more special to me. The blogs I love the very most are those where I feel I “know” the person, and just photos doesn’t do the same for me. Your photos are beautiful my friend. Even more so because I get to see what YOUR eye saw. :c)

    I too, find myself in thought and looking out towards the feeders daily. I think if someone did a study we would find that it really does lower your blood pressure and make you feel happier. Thinking of you and sending warm hugs your way. Drop me an email if you feel like sharing. xoxo

  9. Clara Melvin Says:

    I love the bird picture. In my next life I think I want to be a bird. They are incredible to watch and I love to feed them. That is part of what has kept me going this winter. I have a huge table just outside the sliding glass door in my bedroom. That’s where I feed them. Most of them are doves, a few little snow birds and a blue jay or two. I haven’t seen any Robins yet….but it won’t be long now. I am anxiously awaiting them!

  10. Debi Says:

    But you DO sing best. Your photos are as lovely as any professional’s. I have the same problem–being long-winded. Funny, since you and I both like short fiction. But we can’t stop writing! And it puts a lot of pressure on you because you want to get it right. We’re out there in public–don’t want to sound like a jerk! lol I think Benjamin is right–when you don’t have time to write or don’t feel like it, post some of those beautiful pictures. We all love them. That one of the heron likes like it could be in National Geographic.

  11. Jeff Says:

    Beth, other blogs may have “professional level” photographs, but they don’t have stories to go with them. There is a HUGE difference there! Technical competence is one thing, but weaving photographs with words is an entirely different skill and one at which you excel. Never forget that!

  12. Rider Says:

    I read your posting several times, Ms. Blue. Then I stepped away from the computer to think about it.

    “Beth’s posting is written sparely and directly,” I thought, “like something a frugal New Englander would have written in the 1800’s.”

    But what New Englander?

    I scanned the bookshelves until I saw it: “Walden.” Then I knew the answer: “Henry David Thoreau.”

    “But even Thoreau didn’t write so well of robins,” I said to myself.

    • Rider Says:

      I found a relevant quotation from Thoreau:

      “I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.”

      It’s like something you’d have written, Ms. Blue. That means you and your tough inner critic make a great team. (Sharon agrees in her comment immediately below.)

  13. Sharon Says:

    You don’t even really know how much you have.

  14. The Southern Lady Says:

    Hi Beth, Whew! I am all out of breath from running to get over here! Seems I get slower and slower with my comments these days and in everything I do…I love your photos of anything and everything and always have enjoyed them. I love watching nature, too. It does have such a calming effect on me just like you. I hope that you and your family are doing o.k. Beth, whatever you put on here, we will enjoy it because it is coming from you and your heart. Happy Valentine’s Day. Love and hugs, Judy

  15. Vicki Lane Says:

    Love the pics especially the blue bird and the heron!

    I’m making an attempt to do one or two wordless days a week — there’s just not time for everything and I know that’s true for my readers too.

  16. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    I thank y’all for your comments. As always, you buoy my spirits and lift me up. And Rider, I am pleased beyond measure to have my writing compared to Thoreau’s. I don’t know that I measure up to that, but I certainly will keep striving to do so—thank you. Thoreau and I are, without a doubt, kindred spirits. I am never less lonely than when alone.

    I would give almost anything to have a sparrow alight on my shoulder.

    • Rider Says:

      It is we, your readers, who thank you, Ms. Blue. You teach us the virtues of simplicity and nature, like Thoreau did. Compare the message of your posting above with this sentence of Thoreau’s from “Walden”: “There can be no very black melancholy to [her] who lives in the midst of nature and has [her] sense still.”

      But your writing isn’t just “comparable” to Thoreau’s. It’s better. Here’s why. Thoreau wrote of the virtues of nature and solitude. You write of the virtues of nature and love. Your love for Mr. Blue. Your love for your children. (Sometimes your children write wonderful comments showing their love for you.)

      So, which is better? Thoreau’s message of solitude or your message of love?

      Your message of love, of course. That’s why your writing is better than Thoreau’s. It’s better, even if a sparrow never alights on your shoulder.

      • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

        Thank you, Rider—you are very kind. I do feel richly blessed to have the love of Mr. Blue and the two young Blues. 🙂 And blessed, as well, to have readers (like you) who make me feel like my writing is worthwhile. I’ve always felt like this blog is worth continuing if it means something to even one person.

        Still hoping for that sparrow, though. 🙂

  17. suzannebrandsen Says:

    Hi, I just found your blog by searching wordpress on “living simply”.. Since I just posted about that myself.. And I really loved your openness and honesty on this post. I too feel insecure about my blog not being “professional” sometimes, so I understand what you meant about your photos (however, yours are incredible! So many different birds!).

    Anyway, just wanted to encourage you to keep it up! I enjoyed your blog, & even the title of it made me smile.

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