Will the Birds Keep Singing?

Will the Birds Keep Singing?
Robert Bergman '93

Friday the 13th was the first day without my students and when most of our lives turned upside-down. My family planned to head to Walt Disney World for spring break and the week leading up to that Friday, my wife and I watched the news and then the Disney Company closed the World.  How fitting. The fantasy land of my children’s dreams closed as the rest of our world began closing. We all felt disappointed, how could we not? We spend the last year planning this trip and now it was all over.

That trip became a microcosm of our lives. Our world has shut down. We can’t see each other, we can’t be near one another, we live our lives through a screen, and it feels painful and untethered.

We are all in unchartered waters and we are clueless.  We experience this world like explorers, trying to fit our preconceived notions of what the world is into a realm of completely new understanding. 

I started taking long walks by myself to just get out of the house. I usually listen to an audiobook but the other day I left my ear buds at home. I walked and I listened. I just listened to the sounds of spring all around me. I heard the birds, especially the call of the cardinals, and I stopped and watched them flit from branch to branch, calling to each other from long distances. They communicated, and I’m not sure what they said to each other, but they talked and then listened, and then responded once again to one another. The male’s red plumage stood out in stark contrast to the budding and still bare branches, the red bird stood exposed on this limb and sang for all the world to hear and see and then he got a response.  

I woke up on another day to an email from a colleague. I see her often walking in the halls and I ask her how she is and she responds and she asks the same. Our relationship is quite casual, but this morning, she sent me an email asking how I was adapting and how was my family adapting to quarantine.  

I cried. I openly wept when I read her email.

I couldn’t believe that she had spent a moment concerned with how I was and how my family was feeling. What could possibly put my well-being into her mind at that moment and then to reach out to find the answer? She has her own family and own problems but at that moment she stood on that limb and called out to me.  

We are all suffering, and that is okay. We are all scared, and that is okay too. But we can rise from this quarantine and seek those connections and be grateful for the people around us who care for us and return that care.  

Take a moment each day to connect and make someone’s day.

Thanks, Lil.

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