Through the Eyes of a Child

Grackle

The phone rang as I was on the way out the door.  I dashed back up the front stairs to get it.  The little girl across the street was bubbling with excitement; partly because she had been allowed to use the phone but mostly because she had seen a bird.  When I asked what it looked like, she said it was mixed up with a green head and a shiny purple body.  After running through all of the birds in the field guide in my head, I listened to her prattle on with indulgence but not paying strict attention; assuming it was imaginary.  She could hear the distance in my voice and knew I was placating her.  In frustration she handed the phone to her mother, who thanked me for listening.  We both laughed grown-up laughs.

Hours later, I was pulling weeds in the front flower bed, when a Grackle hopped up onto a low fence.  The sunlight caught the sheen of its feather in such a way that it had a green head and a purple body.  I finally put the pieces of the mystery bird together.  The key word had been shiny.  I called across the street to the neighbor girl to ask if this was the bird she had seen.  She gave me a pitying glance and an eye-roll.  “No,” she said. “That bird is black.” From her angle it was a basic black bird, but from mine, and her’s earlier, it was iridescent.

I now hold onto watching birds through the eyes of a child, where a common black bird can become a thing of beauty, mystery and imagination.

Ah, my littlest neighbor, I promise, next time, I will believe you.

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6 Comments

Filed under backyard

6 responses to “Through the Eyes of a Child

  1. It’s important to listen to and believe that little child still lurking inside us as well, marveling at nature’s colors and scents and textures.

  2. Ah, it’s not just beauty that’s in the eye of the beholder, but all reality.

  3. Yes, to see through the eyes of a child, including our own innocence to know there are treasures shining the darkness.

  4. The photo is awesome and so is your story!

  5. …such a nice story. It really pulled me in. It’s also wonderful you’ve inspired a child to look at birds. Maybe you’ve guided a future bird watcher!

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