When Urania was young/ All thought her heavenly/ With age her eyes grow larger/ But her form unmaidenly

Monday, June 22, 2009

Naming Your World

So, lying in the backyard with my head on Watson, I put Hesse's Demian on the grass and looked at the bird feeders. Mine - a Christmas present - was placed too close to the fence, and squirrels regularly vaulted onto it and made fast work of the birdseed. Laura's, much smaller, hand assembled and painted green, hangs by a cord from the branch of the smallish pear tree on the other side of the yards. Mine tends to get the cardinals and catbirds, cowbirds and jays, as well as the dull sparrowish things that fit on Laura's. Less dedicated amateur bird watchers lump the smallish ones into one category: "LBJs" or "Little Brown Jobs."

On Saturday night Laura and I went to a Sky and Stars event at a nature center. Somehow it seems important to me to pick out and know the name the brighter stars and tell whether something is a wandering planet; to be able to see which constellations are up; to have a North Star. Important that the night sky not be an unmapped chaos, a huge dark stranger with hard glittering eyes. I like that I know many of the tree in the neighborhood, and the more obvious birds, and that Laura is learning them too.
We are placing our jar in Tennessee.

Thinking of the little bird feeder. Time to break open the bird book again and let LBJs give me another page of the dictionary of the world.