Read Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation by Kyo Maclear Online

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A writer’s search for inspiration, beauty, and solace leads her to birds in this intimate and exuberant meditation on creativity and life—a field guide to things small and significant.When it comes to birds, Kyo Maclear isn’t seeking the exotic. Rather she discovers joy in the seasonal birds that find their way into view in city parks and harbors, along eaves and on wires.A writer’s search for inspiration, beauty, and solace leads her to birds in this intimate and exuberant meditation on creativity and life—a field guide to things small and significant.When it comes to birds, Kyo Maclear isn’t seeking the exotic. Rather she discovers joy in the seasonal birds that find their way into view in city parks and harbors, along eaves and on wires. In a world that values big and fast, Maclear looks to the small, the steady, the slow accumulations of knowledge, and the lulls that leave room for contemplation.A distilled, crystal-like companion to H is for Hawk, Birds Art Life celebrates the particular madness of chasing after birds in the urban environment and explores what happens when the core lessons of birding are applied to other aspects of art and life. Moving with ease between the granular and the grand, peering into the inner landscape as much as the outer one, this is a deeply personal year-long inquiry into big themes: love, waiting, regrets, endings. If Birds Art Life was sprung from Maclear’s sense of disconnection, her passions faltering under the strain of daily existence, this book is ultimately about the value of reconnection—and how the act of seeking engagement and beauty in small ways can lead us to discover our most satisfying and meaningful lives....

Title : Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781501154201
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation Reviews

  • Ariel
    2019-07-12 13:40

    A NEW FAVOURITE!!! YAY!!!This book isn't for everyone, but it was definitely for me.This is a meditation, a pause, a break. It's an artist who had to take a year to calm down and step back.. through bird watching. Like What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, which I read and loved earlier this year, I don't care any more about birdwatching than I do about running. Sure these books are about birds and running but really they're about how those things affect the writers. This was about reconnecting with nature, thinking about what success in art means, reflecting on how our relationships affect our work.. I loved it!I picked this up because of the cover and I'm so glad that I did. Now I can firmly recommend that you pick this up because of the content (but also the cover, let's be real, it's beautiful).

  • Diane S ☔
    2019-07-15 15:51

    A book that found me at the perfect moment. I was feeling stressed with all the things that needed to be done before Christmas, anxiety ridden because time was running out. I started reading this book at night, a month at a time, loved how this bookman divided by months, and since the author was also having a problem with anxiety, her struggles helped me with my own. Of course hers were forma different and more important reason than mine were, her father's failing health, feeling closed in and worried about losing her creativity. Married, with two young boys, she, with the help of a bird loving musician friend, takes to walking and noticing the birds in her vicinity. I loved that she looked form and learned about the common birds in her area, studying books, and learning patience in her struggle. I loved the month where she discusses the importance of little things, how sometimes they are overlooked for bigger things, bigger gestures. She goes on to lost small books that had big messages, made a big impact. Reminded me that taking things a little at a time was less overwhelming. Another month discusses authors who had an outside hobby and how they seemed more content, well rounded. Many other insightful discussions, a great resource for writers and non writers alike. Enjoyed this very much.

  • Emer
    2019-06-28 09:03

    Upon closing the last pages of this book I feel as if I should bow my head in silence, speak only in whispered tones. Make some sort of reverential gesture. I really didn't know what to expect from reading a book about bird watching but this... This felt so much more than anything I could have hoped for. In this memoir, writer Kyo Maclear writes about the year when she followed in the footsteps of a musician friend as he went out birding. She had been intrigued by this fellow artist's immense passion in such an almost benign hobby and took to birding alongside him to help her cope with the every day anxieties of being a mother, a wife and daughter to an ailing father. This was about learning to be still while living under the watchful eye of expectant grief. By no means am I a bird watcher. I feed garden birds in Winter and will sit happily in the park in Summer watching the ducks and the swans. But that has traditionally been the extent of my interest and my knowledge. So you could say that I am not really the target audience for a book about birds. And yet I was utterly entranced by this. I was intrigued by the ideas of urban bird watching. It wasn't something that I would have expected. The juxtaposition of the coldness of urbanity with the softness of nature was a breath of fresh air to me. It made the idea of birding very accessible to a novice like me but conversely gave great pause for thought about the impact of ever evolving ecologies on some of our smallest of neighbours and how quickly it can take a species to become extinct. (Case study Passenger Pigeon)And yet this book was so much more than bird watching. It felt as if I was reading someone's innermost thoughts and I was specially invited to be a passenger with them on their journey of discovery and self-acceptance over the course of a year. There were many wonderful moments of insight into being an artist, a mother, a daughter and a wife. It felt natural. Honest. And at times there were passages of such pure clarity about life and living. Kyo Maclear is traditionally known as a children's book author. And in this book she has taken the simplicity that is required for writing for children and poured it into a beautiful journal of words. I found myself being very moved on a number of occasions throughout the read. On one occasion she talked about how becoming part of the birding scene was akin to 'disappearing into the crowd' and how it was refreshing and reinvigorating to not always have to 'individuate, or to be your own you'. It was as she said the perfect 'antidote to the artist ego'.I read an e-version of this book but I have held and looked through a physical hardback copy and I have to say that it is a thing of beauty. And it is as much a visual feast for the eyes as a feast for our word-loving souls. I will definitely be adding it to my bookcase. I would very much recommend this book to anyone with even a passing interest in birds but mostly to anyone who is just looking to be still. To be quiet. To pause a moment amidst this hectic world of ours. This is a book to nourish the soul. To reinvigorate and revitalise the tired and weary mind. four and a half stars rounded up to five *A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, Harper Collins UK: 4th Estate, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

  • Jennifer
    2019-06-18 14:03

    "Birds Art Life" is the type of book that asks to be read slowly, with contemplation. I found that my enjoyment of the book increased as I set it aside for several days after reading, and then went back to review my notes before writing this review. When Kyo Maclear's father faces a grave and terminal illness, she looks for a way to manage her own grief an anxiety about her father's health. On the recommendation of and with the help of a friend, she takes up bird watching deciding to enjoy small spots of nature every day rather than epic versions of wilderness and escape.Maclear beautifully reflects on the way that her new pastime changes her ability to view the world: "If you hope to see something, especially the notably elusive, you will learn to wait, like a devotee or a sanguine lover. You will choose your sitting spot and then you will just sit there. You will sit there, in the wind or drippy cold, waiting for the possibility of something beautiful to appear.You will discover that the magic of a sitting spot is that it teaches you to go nowhere. If you are lucky, it will bring birds closer, or you closer to noticing them."Maclear isn't just talking about birds here -- it's a way of life. Biriding is her new meditation. Her new way to make sense of the world. The new prescription for the anxieties of life.Some may liken this book to H is for Hawk. I actually found Maclear's work to be more approachable, relatable, and frankly more moving.3.5 stars rounded up to 4.Thanks to NetGalley and Scribner for a galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Rebecca Foster
    2019-07-11 11:49

    Troubled by her father’s ill health and feeling generally a bit stuck in her career and relationships, children’s book author Kyo Maclear (I loved her The Liszts) undertook a year of birdwatching in her native Toronto, with a bird-loving musician as her guide. “I wanted a road map back to my art, my equanimity,” she writes. Unfortunately, I loved the premise more than the execution: the book is, perhaps necessarily, somewhat flighty and unfocused, with the sketches, lists and quotes detracting from rather than adding to the narrative. I did, however, like the list of the “spark birds” that kindled various figures’ interest in birding.Some favorite lines:“I understand getting stuck. I understand wanting to make a change while circling around the same neural cage. … Yet in an effort to hoard solitude and keep people out, there is a risk that all you end up doing is fencing yourself in.”“I had always felt an allegiance to the migratory and rootless: to those of no place and many places, who (out of necessity) had developed the ability to move and adapt quickly.”

  • Samantha Kilford
    2019-07-15 14:48

    If the books I review on this website are indicative of something, it's that I don't read a lot of non-fiction. I'm the person who'd much rather an action packed novel about, say, an alien invasion than a long study debating alien existence full of essays and scientific evidence. On the rare occasions where I do venture into the non-fiction territory, it's mainly to read memoirs. The last one I read being John Pearson's The Profession of Violence about the Kray twins which not only follows your standard biography format, but is very different from today's featured novel about bird-watching.Kyo Maclear's memoir, Birds Art Life Death, is like no memoir I've ever read before. Broken up into seasons packed with little sketches and quotes, Birds Art Life Death is Maclear's story about coping with death, motherhood, culture, friendship, love and immigration while following her musician pal on his bird-watching ventures.Not only was Maclear's writing stunning and lyrical, but I liked the honesty in her words. Throughout her journey, she tackles quite heavy and tough subject matters, but does them in a way that doesn't feel overbearing and self-wallowing. We've all read autobiographies where the author comes across as super pretentious, but Maclear's introspective musings were very intriguing. I adored the insights into her life as not just a mother and a wife, but a daughter to an ailing father. Maclear transitions through these topics so effortlessly with such natural sincerity. Despite taking the odd bird snap for Instagram and knowing all the words to Nelly Furtado's 2000 bop "I'm Like a Bird", I am not an avid bird-watcher. I did find myself having to take to Google when Maclear launched into descriptions of the birds or quoted other authors with a passion for birding. I felt at times it could be excessive. It often took away from the smooth narrative, but other than that I did enjoy learning more about birding and liked how Birds Art Life Death encourages the reader to look for birds and beauty in our surroundings no matter how urban they may be.After reading Birds Art Life Death, I would say that I've come to appreciate bird-watching more now than I did. Will I do it? Quite possibly. I live in a part of Wales which isn't overwhelmingly rural nor is it totally urban, so perhaps one day I may go birding or at least take more time to value their beauty. But this book was more than just birds, I feel an immense appreciation to Maclear for allowing us as readers to follow both her and her musician friend's journey of discovery.Birds Art Life Death is a moving and refreshing memoir. Whether you have a keen interest in birds or not, I would recommend it. There were so many poignant moments in the book that just spoke to me and made me reflect on life. It serves as the perfect reminder for fellow busy types who get caught up in the frantic pace of everyday life to just take a moment to relax, be still and appreciate the beauty of nature and our world.

  • Christopher Jones
    2019-06-21 14:39

    Give yourself a treat, escape for a few hours with this little gem ! ❤️I can’t quite put my finger on why exactly I liked this but I did ❤️

  • anete
    2019-07-12 10:38

    *ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for a honest review, thanks again*really. damn. good.After reading this book you feel like you know everything about the author and how she perceives the world around her. The way Maclear writes makes you feel included, it felt natural, like you're old friends and she's just telling you where she's been.In short, this book is an exploration of self and the world, which stays with you.

  • Mark Bramhill
    2019-07-14 11:50

    I found this short book to be rather meandering — going in many different directions, without really spending enough time in any one place. It's a book filled with lovely vignettes, good writing, and smart ideas, but it lacks focus and clarity. I enjoyed the later sections of the book more, but there are definitely some sections in the middle that I had to slog through.

  • David Yoon
    2019-07-13 12:59

    Exploring the nature of art, creativity and paying better attention to the world around you without expectation. It is about the perverse audacity of aiming tiny and giving yourself permission to be creative. This is and isn’t a woo-woo self-help book in the same way it is and it isn’t an autobiography about the time immediately following the time her father suffered two strokes. It’s a meandering, playful, chat with a curious mind. It’s Anne Lamont meets Cheryl Strayed with a distinctly Canadian sense of restraint. And it’s just the sort of reassurance that any creative needs once in awhile.

  • Krista
    2019-06-23 10:00

    I knew birds were not trivial. They were constantly chirping, and what they were saying, or what I heard them say, was Stand up. Look around. Be in the world.Birds Art Life is a hipstery memoir – Toronto-based writer Kyo Maclear drops the names of arthouse movies and indie musicians that I've never heard of (in the acknowledgements, Maclear even thanks a Jason Logan for the “street-harvested pigments” she used in the pen and ink sketches for this book; and if that ain't hipster, I don't know what is) – and the overall effect didn't do a whole lot for me: I didn't find her story to be either mind-openingly unique or relatably universal. On the other hand, I did find Maclear to be likeable, interesting, and unpretentious. This is a fine read, but didn't open my eyes to anything new; I wouldn't widely recommend it, but am also not warning against it.If I am guilty of hiding among tinier people in a tinier parallel world, it is because I am searching for other models of artistic success. The small is a figure of alternative possibility, proof that no matter how much the market tries to force consensus, there will always be those making art where the market isn't looking.In the beginning, Maclear explains that as the only child of divorced immigrant parents, she has had to become the caregiver for her aging father – and with the added demands of a husband, two children, and a writing career, she felt herself becoming “wordless” with “anticipatory grief”. After experiencing a feeling of wanderlust – a desire to roam and free up her “creative and contemplative” mind once again – Maclear found herself drawn to the story of a local musician who takes pictures of birds around Toronto; thought perhaps her own happiness could be bird-shaped. After making contact with him (curiously, Maclear only and always refers to the man as “the musician” in the book, but thanks him by name in the acknowledgements), he agrees to let her follow him on his bird walks for a year. This book is the story of these birds walks and what species they find together, along with Maclear's family history, some sketches and photos of birds, some current events, research that includes lists of famous people and how they relate to her points, and some meditations on the nature of art and creativity. Mostly, it's about the birds.Most of us don't have time for the malady of stillness. Life is too short for longueurs. The idea of sitting for hours on end, on rocks or bits of log, in the cold, for a bird, is the definition of lunacy and silliness.And yet – Maclear writes that when she was working on this project, she often described it to friends as a “sketchbook”, and that feels like an apt description for the finished product: it's a multimedia assemblage; a collage. And ultimately, by looking for birds, she refound her voice.The birds tell me not to worry, that the worries that sometimes overwhelm me are little in the grand scheme of things. They tell me it's all right to be belittled by the bigness of the world. There are some belittlements and diminishments that make you stronger, kinder. I thought that the writing was polished and the thoughts interesting, but it still didn't add up to all that much. Birds Art Life reminded me of Unearthed – another slow-simmer Toronto-set memoir – when I wanted something deeper like H is for Hawk or Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Still, not a waste of my time.

  • Clare O'Beara
    2019-06-27 12:51

    This book appears to have been re-released very promptly as Birds Art Life, probably because someone at the publishing house remembered that memoirs with a positive title sell better than memoirs with a negative title. The tale is rather disjointed and rambling, and I have to say does not do birds, art or life very well. The author is forced to confront mortality after her father gets a diagnosis of serious illness. She could have thrown herself into many purposes, like bringing up her two small kids, but instead we read of her following a musician around Toronto for a year. With his permission, with some kind of agreement from her husband, and without naming the man. (He is named in the notes at the back, so why not in the text?) This reader finds it very hard to connect with someone apparently ditching her growing family, and refusing to call a man by a name, making him an object or a commodity. Maclear reflects on her much-travelled upbringing and starts to learn to draw. As the musician is diverting himself by taking photos of birds, his hobby being spotting rare birds, she includes some of those photos and draws some birds and other items she sees. If you want to take time out from your life and read about a woman taking time out from her life, you might enjoy this reflective diary. To me the best part is that by the end, Maclear has learned enough to take her sons out birdwatching. I hope this starts a more positive future for the family. I downloaded an ARC from Net Galley. This is an unbiased review.

  • Mousy Brown
    2019-07-07 12:55

    Feeling "unmoored " by my own Fathers illness and sudden death, I found myself tethered again by the recognition of similar themes within the pages of this book. Words so eloquently described my emotions and confirmed my confidence in the 'nature cure' ...A beautiful, brief reflection on birds and their significance to us as humans, the place art has in our souls, on life and what keeps us living...a book that will stay with me for far longer than it took to read...

  • Sophie Potter
    2019-06-26 15:54

    I received this book through the Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for a review.I'm interested in birds, in memoirs and increasingly in art, so this book really should have been a slam-dunk for me. However, I ended up feeling that it was just a bit too much of a little book- it touched on so many things but never really fully engaged on any level. The proof I received was however beautifully designed and laid out. If you are a fan of smaller, vignette-style writing, this is almost certainly the book for you. Personally I found it enjoyable enough- but just really wanted more!

  • Emily Crow
    2019-06-22 13:46

    This is one of those books it's a bit hard for me to rate, because although it wasn't a bad book by any means, it simply wasn't what I was expecting and so I feel a bit disgruntled about that. Since I found it in the nature section of (sadly going out of business) Book World, and the cover has birds all over it and states "A Year of Observation," I thought that birds would be the main topic. As it turns out, the book is only tangentially about birds: the author tags along with a birder for several trips around Toronto, briefly describes a bird that they find per chapter, and uses that as a launching point for a digression about her own life and regrets and existential dilemmas, etc. For what it's worth, her little essays are elegantly written and contain the occasional poignant insight (along with the occasional self-indulgent meandering). As I said, it's not a bad book. I would recommend it to fans of literary essays. But not necessarily to bird nerds, as they might end up disappointed, as I was, by how few birds Maclear actually sees.

  • sevdah
    2019-07-11 13:49

    A memoir by a woman finding both peace and parts of herself in nature - while reading lots of books and mentioning quite a few of my personal favourite writers (Jenny Diski, Eileen Myles, Brecht, Sontag, Nabokov, &c, &c). Got it because I've started really loving nature writing and books about birds, and by the last page it kind of grew on me. I thought it was slightly silly and chichi at first - style-wise but also because the formatting was trying too hard to be cutesy, and I'd much prefer all the illustrations at a single place, like a visual essay, instead of scattered all throughout. However at some point I started appreciating if for all its' messy parts and attempts at capturing the more confusing moments of being a person, a partner, a child, a parent, and a bird-watcher. I, of course, could never look at nature like she does (as a source of valuable life lessons and a form of escapism - I simply take it as it is), but it was an interesting point of view.

  • Mark
    2019-06-17 13:35

    “When he fell in love with birds and began to photograph them, his anxieties dissipated. The sound of birdsong reminded him to look outward at the world.”“He had discovered his joy was bird-shaped.”“It was a relief to be back with the bird-loving weirdos, soaking up their stand-and-stare vibe, basking in the still night air that carried not even a breath of wind.”“Birding is more than an activity. It's a disposition. Keep your eyes and ears and mind open to beauty.”“If you listen to birds, every day will have a song in it.”I will cheat a bit on this one and just add some quotes, instead of reviewing it. I do love these quotes though and much of her writing. There was a bit more navel-gazing, than I would have preferred but this little book did grow on me. It also really brought to light, the geeky joy of simply being out in nature, in an urban setting or not.

  • Janet Berkman
    2019-07-02 13:57

    Lovely set of reflections on, well, birds, art, and life. And what they teach us and each other. While I read a library copy, I will likely buy my own to reflect on more deeply. I have recently felt drawn to birds and bird-watching. I think I need a companion like the author had, to be taught by, walk with, and learn from. Lots of thoughts on the artistic life, family, fallow time, stillness, our elders.Highly recommended to thoughtful souls in midlife who need to know it's okay to just be.

  • Jessica Rosner
    2019-06-21 09:49

    I try to be good, and get books from my library. And I did get a copy from my library. It I loved it so much after about five pages that I bought my own. There are just so many small, powerful gems. I found myself going right back to beginning, as soon as I finished. I am a person who struggles to find worth in my small life. This book helped me to feel part of something bigger, and to appreciate my love of small, and quiet. Those words do not have to be descriptions of weak or inconsequential people or pursuits. This book is small, but powerful.

  • Michael Livingston
    2019-06-26 12:41

    This couldn't be any more up my alley.

  • Cindy
    2019-06-23 13:50

    This is a beautiful little book. It's a slow, sweet walk with the author as she contemplates life through nature. It's about finding beauty and meaning in the life around you. Special thanks to Scribner Books and Goodreads Giveaways.

  • Frances
    2019-07-06 09:49

    It took me awhile to finish this, but I remember I chose to read it as an ebook because I was in a place at the start of the year that where I felt a lot of what Maclear talks about as slumps. She has a better word for it, but one thing I did get from this book is that it's okay to be insignificant, because as pessimistic as that sounds, that's what we are- a speck in the universe. But you can find joy in the little things in life, and you don't need a grand scheme to feel like you belong on this Earth.

  • Briar's Reviews
    2019-06-27 14:34

    Book ReviewBook Title: Birds Art Life: A Year of ObservationBook Author: Kyo MaclearIntroduction: I was craving some inspirational nonfiction, so I decided to pick this book up. I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads for an honest review.Review:"Every love story is a potential grief story" - Kyo Maclear reference - Julian Barnes's Levels of Life.This book is an inspirational gem that truly surprised me. I never expected a book about watching birds to be one of my favourite reads of the year. There are numerous quotes that are truly amazing from this novel, and now I want to pick up many more Kyo Maclear novels.I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who needs a pick me up. Difficult topics are discussed within this novel, but it gives you a very different view on life. It's not just a book about birds - it's a book about humans too. While there are facts within this book about birds, it's not just an encyclopedia. Kyo Maclear explains movements throughout life and how changes can be dealt with through analogies, metaphors and similes. Overall, it's a truly impressive book.The more I read this book, the more I appreciated it. While I might not have been able to relate to every topic discussed in it, I truly felt lifted after reading it. With so many inspirational quotes, it was hard to not put a sticky note on almost every page where I found words that just fit with me."Die knowing something. Die knowing your knowing will be incomplete." - Kyo Maclear.The final two pages of this book gave a list of many, wonderful lessons. Lessons regarding living in general, taking chances, surprises, opening up, relaxation, people, and having a guru in general. Out of this entire book, I felt that these two pages summed the book up better than the synopsis. If you're not going to read the entire book, just reading those two specific pages makes the entire novel worth it.Final Thoughts: I was truly impressed by this book. I was not expecting to get so attached and feel so desperate to continue reading it. Who knew birds could be so interesting?Five out of five stars.

  • Margot
    2019-07-13 15:53

    There were some passages and sections that I found engaging, but a lot of this I skimmed. At times, I felt the writing was pretty mediocre.

  • Jamie Queale
    2019-07-01 15:52

    I got this book as an advanced reader copy. This book came to me at the perfect time in my life. Especially since birds have become a bigger part of my life since meeting my husband a couple years ago. This book impacted me greatly. The observations about birds and the analogies used to compare to humans were thought provoking and moving.The book and words inside will not leave my mind for some time.

  • Nicole
    2019-07-09 12:45

    I really enjoyed this book. I wanted to originally read this because I'm not the biggest fan of birds.. but my fiancees father and wife enjoy "birding". I was hoping that this would enlighten a bit of this activity for me and also just to see how others process grief. This was a quick and very interesting read. There were parts I did not enjoy in this novel...like her relationship with her husband.. it just seemed strange to me. But i really enjoyed the drawings throughout the book!

  • Renee
    2019-07-02 11:45

    This was enjoyable. The idea that birds and nature are a great source of inspiration for artist , from writers to musicians and everything between was a nice touch. my only issue is that the writing is all over the place, not really structure in a way that is logical but felt scattered .

  • Sarah Sammis
    2019-07-12 11:51

    Just what I needed.Originally I bought the book because I am familiar with Maclear's children's books. Like the musician, I am also an amateur birder and bird photographer.http://pussreboots.pair.com/blog/2017...

  • ebookclassics
    2019-07-04 08:44

    When the librarian described Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation by Kyo Maclear as a potential book club read, everyone just looked at each and was like, “Whaaat?” We didn't pick it for book club, but I was intrigued enough to get the book and even though it took me awhile to get the hang of the author’s part memoir, part random collection of thoughts, part adventures in birding 101, I enjoyed her meditations on trying to be creative when you’re a member of the sandwich generation and completely exhausted mentally and emotionally. I especially enjoyed her thoughts on the beauty of things that are quiet and small, as it made me think of how I take these for granted in my own life. Maybe watching birds splash in the lake at your local park can be just a grand and satisfying adventure as trekking the Himalayas. This shift in thinking about our current reality (because we’re not going to trek the Himalayas any time soon let’s face it) is an example of the food for thought that has stayed with me after reading the book. As other reviewers have mentioned, this book could be what you need when you’re stressed out, in a rut or don’t know what to read next. 3.5 Stars

  • Joanie
    2019-07-10 13:45

    'I would have kept the bird in my room and fed it moistened seeds and mealworms. It would not have been heroic. I could have made a fuss. I could have risked being a cliché of earnestness, risked trying and failing.Deep down I think I knew the remorse would not be large and crushing. It would be small and manageable, just a tiny bird, embarrassingly little. Not a crisis. And that's why I regret it. Because the attitude that somehow, without our acting, the little things will take care of themselves does not ring true anymore.' (p. 202)A delicate, thoughtful memoir that brims with joy and sorrow, soaring like birdsong. Kyo Maclear's tentative foray into the world of birds with a musician friend is touching in its earnestness and honesty as she learns about this other side of the city, allowing herself to see the vibrancy and hear the songs that she missed out on before. There's a beauty she describes in her surroundings - even in a city where it seems even the buildings that replaced natural landscape have been razed for newer buildings - that I found so lovely and calming to read about. (I do live in the same city and beyond the pigeons and sparrows and seagulls, I hardly notice the birds at all, so this did help to open my eyes.) In terms of the personal, I could relate so much to her being a fretful person: always prioritizing the 'what ifs?' and expecting the worst, cutting the future down to size and never to plan too far knowing that disruptions were inevitable. Birding as a way of coping with that, and all of her concerns being acknowledged in words, were like a balm. The relationships she had with her family, with her ailing father in particular (this was the main driver for her grief), were very lovingly sketched. I didn't expect to pick up a book that mixed memoir and birding, but the design throughout just drew me in (love all the illustrations and photos!), with the promise of a sort of meditation. I can see myself revisiting this one someday. I feel that my temperament is so close to the author that there was no way I would've not been comforted by this, somehow.