Each morning as we ate our breakfast, meditated, walked and wrote,
a small olive brown flycatcher with a promient oval eye ring, perched outside the meditation hall and persistently rang out a one-note version of his song, 'tweep'.
I found him on a perch in this same area each morning, which was also the scene we looked out upon as we walked in meditation around the deck. This was a meditative writing workshop, a sit, walk, write workshop with Natalie Goldberg and Sean Murphy at Rose Mountain retreat near the Santa Fe National Forest in the Pecos wilderness of New Mexico. The photo below shows the deck where we most often walked. We take our feet for granted. At least, I have. Our feet ground us and balance us and they feel. I am not a barefoot person in general, but this slow walking, this meditative way of experiencing the moment in movement, grounded me in my feet. I felt the cold puddles of water after the rain, the firm cracked surface of the boards, the forgiving lump of a tiny pine cone, the uneven board edges that moved, the nails that my feet rolled over without injury. This walking grounded us to the earth and back into our senses after our minds had been quieted through sitting mediation. Aware walking--one of many profound experiences.
There is more to a flycatcher's song than just one little note but this was the note he repeated over and over again, spaced out and persistent. You can hear it with less pause beween notes at the end of Cornell’s recording of the Cordilleran flycatcher. Bird identification for some species is complicated, especially from a distance. It is the song and the location of the bird that often settles the matter. In the case of the western flycatcher, the species has been divided into two kinds according to breeding location and feather details that can’t be seen casually. And so, I will offer this identification as my best guess.
Our little flycatcher friend was all fluffed up the morning of these photos because we had thunderstorms and rain during the night and the morning air was brisk. In fact, we were all fluffed up a bit.