If there is one sound in all of the world that fills me with joy, it is the sound of birds calling and singing to each other. Every morning when I go out to greet the day, it is as if all the neighborhood birds sing me a “Good Morning!” I love to just sit in silence, watching and listening as the birds go about their business. It is a strangely exciting experience to imagine yourself being among them, seeing and experiencing the world through their eyes. I am not one of those expert birdwatchers who can name each type of bird I see. I’m lucky if I can pick out the more obvious ones, like cardinals, blue jays, crows, eagles, hawks, finches and starlings. I am in awe of people who can tell you what kind of bird is singing or calling at any given moment just by the sound they make. I can only do that with cardinals, because I once had a pair that visited my bird feeder every day, and, of course, crows because, well, everybody knows what a crow sounds like!
As a writer, I have spent countless years trying to find what is known in the literary world as “my voice.” I have tried on one voice after another, often copying the style of writers I admired when I was younger. The fact that nothing I wrote during those years felt authentic or truly mine was a strong indicator that if I wanted to be the very best writer I could be, I had to find my own voice and write from there.
We humans struggle throughout most of our lives trying to find our own voice, the one that gives us good advice, that supports us as we pursue our dreams, and comforts us when life throws us a curve ball. It’s the one that doesn’t call us names, or tells us we’re failures, or reminds us of all of our shortcomings. It’s the one who is always there when no one else is, and connects us in the physical world with the truths that we stand firm on in our spiritual world. It is the voice of authenticity.
The other day as I was outside tending to some of the last of the autumn gardening chores, I heard that distinctive sound that could only belong to a crow. He had stopped by on his way to or from the corn fields where my neighbors are harvesting and perched in a tree close by to where I was working. He squawked a hello and proceeded to tell me a story while I worked. It did not matter that I don’t speak fluent crow. What mattered was that the voice I heard was distinctly his, and I thanked him in a voice that was distinctly mine.
And so it is.