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Mozart's Starling

Lyanda Lynn Haupt

Top 10 Best Quotes

“And what is this wild summons? What art is asked of us? The gift offered is different for each but all are equal in grandeur. To paint, draw, dance, compose. To write songs, poems, letters, diaries, prayers. To set a violet on the sill, stitch a quilt,; bake bread; plant marigolds, beans, apple trees. To follow the track of the forest elk, the neighborhood coyote, the cupboard mouse. To open the windows, air beds, sweep clean the corners. To hold the child’s hand, listen to the vagrant’s story, paint the elder friend's fingernails a delightful shade of pink while wrapped in a blanket she knit with deft young fingers of her past. To wander paths, nibble purslane, notice spiders. To be rained upon. To listen with changed ears and sing back what we hear.”

“I care with the brightened curiosity of one who loves a subject for no rational reason, but who loves it nonetheless and prodigally. This is the ardor of the academic Austenologist who believes that if she looks beneath the floorboards of the right dusty attic, she will find the diary entry explaining why Jane Austen rejected her one marriage proposal the day after she'd accepted it; of the birder in Costa Rica tiptoeing through tails of biting ants and fer-de-lance serpents in hopes of glimpsing a rare hummingbird that no one has seen for fifteen years. I could list such loves forever, the sort that visit our imaginations on the cusp of the impossible but that we cannot erase from our minds. We follow the trail with whatever breadcrumbs we can gather, with hope, with love, with an almost magical combination of urgency and patience...”

“Perhaps the corollary would be just as good an opening for a tale; not "long ago, when animals could speak," but "Long ago, when people could listen.”

“reading books over my shoulder and turning pages that I did not want turned, and having finished all of her e-mail correspondence, Carmen settles onto my shoulder, into the crook of my arm, or on my lap against my belly; she rounds her soft breast over her feet, fluffs and then unfluffs her feathers, and becomes perfectly still. Sometimes she will close her eyes; other times she will simply rest, entirely at peace. She might make a contented little sound, one I never hear from her aviary. It is a sigh-chirp, reserved for these moments of quiet snuggling. If I am still, I can feel her swift heartbeat. I will never tire of such moments. Comfort, rest, and unexpected consolation, shared so easily between two beings who grew from such seemingly different limbs of the taxonomic tree.”

“While I wandered the dreamy quiet of St. Marx Friedhof, it was the Requiem that swirled through my head. But when I set my chestnut on the gray concrete that had to stand in for Star's tiny, forgotten grave, it was the wild, swirling cadenzas from A Musical Joke that filled my mind and heart. Even more than his poem, this flight of musical fancy was Mozart's truest elegy for his small friend, the commonest of birds who could never have known that he was joining with a musical genius in the highest purpose of creative life: to disturb us out of complacency; to show us the wild, imperfect, murmuring harmony of the world we inhabit; to draw our own lives into the song.”

“What art is asked of us? The gift offered is different for each but all are equal in grandeur. To paint, draw, dance, compose. To write songs, poems, letters, diaries, prayers. To set a violet on the sill; stitch a quilt; bake bread; plant marigolds, beans, apple trees. To follow the track of the forest elk, the neighborhood coyote, the cupboard mouse. To open the windows, air the beds, sweep clean the corners. To hold the child’s hand, listen to the vagrant’s story, paint the”

“There is another world,” Paul Éluard wrote, “but it is in this one.”* One world is marked by a bland forgetfulness, where we do not permit ourselves an openness to the simple, graced beauty that is always with us. The other is marked by attentiveness, aliveness, love. This is the state of wonder, which is commonly treated as a passive phenomenon—a kind of visitation or feeling that overcomes us in the face of something wondrous. But the ground of the word, the Old English wundrian, is very active, meaning “to be affected by one’s own astonishment.” We decide, moment to moment, if we will allow ourselves to be affected by the presence of this brighter world in our everyday lives. Certainly”

“It is from this beautiful, feral place that we are able to respond to the breath of inspiration that summons us to the fullness of our creativity. Full, because we are cognizant that we are not a lone pair of hands or a single voice, that we do not create in isolation but bring our gift, the art of our lives, to one another, to the earth. We each touch the seven starlings closest to us in our own mumuration, and the ripple spreads faster than we could have imagined. .”

“But the earth and its beings are extravagantly wild, full of unexpected wonders. It is time to turn from our textbooks and listen to the birds themselves.”

“But in the bare practical outlines, we are two writers, sitting at our desks, with starlings on our shoulders”

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Book Keywords:

wildlife, humanity, companionship, mozart, inspiration, creativity, curiosity, art, love, conservation, animals, birds, starlings, nature, ecology

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