*the loud and boisterous spring

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all, – Emily Dickinson

My favorite Spring poem is Emily Dickinson’s Hope Is The Thing With Feathers. I love when the birds come back! Yes, they saturate my soul with hope and cheer and all that good stuff. As Emily so cleverly points out, they fill us, while asking nothing in return.

Brimming with bird sounds, my afternoon walks remind me of being in a loud and noisy gym, full of commotion. I am ever grateful for the abundance of timber which tower over my neighborhood and clutter around the park. In these stark, naked trees the feathered little beings alight, gather, and chatter busily. They swoop and swarm, they land and flit. Like teenagers they switch back and forth between groups cackling and chirping. As each year passes, I’m getting more and more familiar with many of the species native to this area.

In Chicago, local lore has it that there are two seasons: winter and construction. I have to laugh because as soon as the weather resembles anything close to temperate, my city walks become cluttered with the ruckus of semi-urban life. Urged along by sirens, hammered by the sounds of never ending construction, interrupted with the roar of airplane noise, subjected to squealing brakes and distracted by the distant horn of the metra train, I often opt for headphones and some music. I understand this is Chicago’s busy soundtrack. Sometimes, I can’t believe how I’ve learned to tune the hubbub and rumpus out. As distant from the actual epicenter of the city as my neighborhood is, it is after all Chicago, and there is pride in every block’s participation when it comes to being known as the city that works.

My deft ears are now able to filter through it all and skillfully hone in on the bird sounds like new music on the radio. The whistles and peeps, the honking, and cawing, all of it fresh chatter announcing the spring – *the loud and boisterous spring!

A skein of geese honking overhead.


Two robins meet at a puddle.


The first cardinal of the season.


A lone crow cawing out to someone.


A cackle of grackles


*This post is dedicated to Rachel Carson and a book she wrote Silent Spring. I read the book in college and have looked and listened for the birds in every Spring since.

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