Conversations with Birds: The Metaphysics of Bird and Human Communication
Alan Powers (Author)
DescriptionFor decades Alan Powers has studied bird vocalizations, developing the remarkable ability to imitate birds’ songs and get them to respond and even change tunes. Through his years of study, he has discovered that birds can teach us important lessons about the world and about ourselves. As Powers explains, by communing cross-species we reach out to the timeless interconnected web of all life past and present--what Renaissance philosopher Giordano Bruno called in Latin the Uni-versus, the “Whole turned into One.”
Sharing his journey to learn birdtalk and his profound observations about the poetic, spiritual, and healing influences of birdsong, Powers explores the ancient language of birds and the depth of meaning birds convey. He explains how bird speech sounds like song to us, but birdtalk is urgent and nuanced, whether about predators or the weather. He details how he began learning birdtalk, listening to one bird each summer, learning their many vocalizations and variations. Discussing specific techniques, he shares insights into the birdtalk of many species, including the complex and intelligent speech of Crows, the emotional depths of Loons, the mimicry of Blue Jays, and the beautiful song of the Wood Thrush.
Exploring the intertwined metaphysics of bird and human languages, Powers looks at the long-standing tradition of “avitherapy” throughout history, literature, and the arts. He shares insights into birds from Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson, reveals how birds appear in love songs throughout the world, and examines how famous writers such as Keats, Catullus, St. Francis of Assisi, and the French historian Jules Michelet found that talking to birds improves their state of mind. He also explores how song-talk with birds restores peace, calms anxiety, and enhances health.
Inner Traditions Bear and Company
1 January 1900
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