Nature Journal [I]

A few days ago I was standing at the sink washing a bowl in front of the open window, when I heard birdsong for the first time in a very long while.

It’s not that there’s been a dearth of birds, of course. It’s just that I haven’t been listening. There were two or three of them, and I could distinguish each one individually, as clearly as three human voices – and I couldn’t understand their conversation, but I could hear that they were having one. I can’t quite put words to it. I just thought, “So that’s what the fairy tales are talking about when they say ‘the speech of birds.’ ”

Also a few days ago: I heard the charming (but uncited) tidbit that a black vase full of rhododendrons had once been a death threat. Cannot find original source. Must investigate further.