I love wordplay. I love word origins in particular. Lately, perhaps because our President Elect keeps embarrassing himself on Twitter, the word Tweet has been, well, trending. Hearing the word over and over reminds me of its other, original definition: the sound a bird makes.

While I appreciate the rapidity of information shared on Twitter and the challenge of being concise and even clever in 141 characters, it can’t compete in my mind with the music or chatter made by the original tweeters and the inspiration for the name Twitter. Birds.

Nothing really makes my daily walks as fulfilling as to hear the birdsong along the way. Instead of observing my breath as I would in meditation, on my walks, I keep coming back to the sounds of my avian neighbors. Those sounds ground me.

I remember hearing a story on the radio about how a journalist was struck by the absence of birdsong, by the total silence when visiting a certain area of New Orleans after Katrina. That story made me thinking of how we take the lovely sounds that birds make around us for granted.

It isn’t only while walking that I listen for and revel in these melodies. It is also what I listen for through our windows and what I tried unsuccessfully to encourage more of by installing a birdfeeder (the attempt was foiled by a neighborhood bear who destroyed the feeder).

For me, birdsong is a reminder to step away from my computer, my social media streams and all of the other modern noises that clutter my day, to appreciate the lovely way in which birds communicate. In this era of uncivil discourse, perhaps we can all learn a thing or two from how our feathered friends relate.

Originally published at medium.com


  • Donna Haghighat

    CEO at The Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts, Creator, Teacher, Feminist and Improv student who loves wordplay and learning