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The Magic of Birds

April 11, 2011

Once again, Jonathan Franzen says it perfectly in his essay about solitude, escapism, Robinson Crusoe, David Foster Wallace, and birds (in this week’s New Yorker):

When I go looking for new bird species, I’m searching for a mostly lost authenticity, for the remnants of a world now largely overrun by human beings but still beautifully indifferent to us; to glimpse a rare bird somehow persisting in its life of breeding and feeding is an enduringly transcendent delight.

His words resonate with me — especially since just about every bird I see is a new bird species for me.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 12, 2011 4:22 am

    Who knew Franzen was a birder? Great quote…I’ve written it down. I myself, frankly would feel transcendent delight just to be able to glimpse some very common birds…they are all around the house, with their varied songs and enthusiastic chatter. There must be hundreds in number and several in species, but I never can see them. They hide in plain sight.

    • April 12, 2011 8:05 am

      Yes he is! And a pretty serious one, I think. He wrote a fabulous essay about it all called “My Bird Problem” (originally came out in the New Yorker, but it’s also the last essay in his book The Discomfort Zone). Franzen is the reason I started birding 🙂

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