Since spring has finally arrived here, lots of birds, our art challenge prompt for today, have been returning to our neighborhood. Their cheery peeps, squawks, and songs never fail to make me smile. So we have a quick little 2-color doodlewash to celebrate them today. What’s always been puzzling to me is that the phrase “for the birds” is used to refer to something worthless, totally undesirable, or only meant for gullible people. This phrase originated in America around the time of the second World War. The original version was a bit more vulgar as “sh*t for the birds,” alluding to their habit of pecking at horse droppings. A strange habit to be sure, but to discount something simply because a bird might find it interesting always seemed terribly unfair. As a kid, I thought birds were the coolest simply because they had the ability to fly, a skill I could only dream about. And even if they seemed thrilled by the weirdest and simplest things, they did always seem rather happy. Something many humans I saw around me find a bit of a struggle in. So for me, if something was meant for them, it was very likely to be something that surely must create a bit of interest and joy.
This weekend I was sitting outside on our terrace enjoying a spot of extremely mild and delightful weather. A little bird flew past and landed on the branch of a tree nearby. I was immediately enraptured and spent the next several minutes just watching it cock its little head as though straining to hear something. The tiny tail would flick occasionally and then, all at once, it leaned forward and begin to “speak,” sending a signal to another bird that was just out of view. I kept waiting to see the two meet, but that moment never came. The bird flew away to other parts and I was simply left wondering why that was so interesting in the first place. What I realized was that I had just spent a few blissful minutes thinking of nothing much at all. Simply enjoying the natural world around me and the moment itself. An act so simple, yet made memorable because it just doesn’t happen all that often for me. I’m always rushing around trying to get things done and find it difficult to pause for a moment.
I’m not quite sure what that little bird was saying, and since I never saw the other bird, perhaps he was speaking to me instead. Telling me to remember to take time in even the busiest of days to enjoy the simplest of moments. Or telling me I’m daft in thinking a bird might actually be talking to me. But either way, I was struck by the exchange. And if you also love birds and posted a painting of one today, please also share the link in the comments below! As I mentioned in a previous post, the official Draw A Bird Day occurs on April 8th, but it’s always nice to celebrate and share each month that we can. Let’s spread some smiles around the world! A feathery reminder that no matter how busy we are, there’s always time to make a moment to paint and a moment to smile. And moment to remember that life would simply not have that wonderful sense of joy and hope, if it weren’t for the birds.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Benzimida Orange and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!