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Gan Hayeled: A Note from Noah

05/15/2020 10:12:11 AM



Shabbat shalom!

The power of patient observation:

Our family has become avid birdwatchers (making my mother proud) and we are astounded at the diversity of birds present in our front yard. The more we watch, the more we notice slight differences between the birds, helping us identify them. Early mornings are spent cuddled on the couch, with coffee or a sippie cup of milk, eyes darting back and forth tracking flurries of wings.

This morning we reveled in watching a Northern Flicker eat up some insects from the crevices in an old tree trunk. We’ve noticed that the Mockingbirds for some reason like to hang out down the street, so we see them on our walks but never in our own yard. We’ve learned to appreciate the tiny flecks of gold and orange on the back of the European Starling, and to spot Hawks as they soar overheard way in the distance. Solomon likes the Mourning Dove because it is bountiful and easy to identify but is particularly gleeful anytime he sees the bright red male Cardinal, shouting for all of us to come over and watch.

The most exciting for all of us has been to watch an American Robin slowly build a nest in a tree next to our house, twig by twig, throughout April. It took days of watching, but finally our boys were able to notice the tiny pieces of “nest material” in the bird’s beak. Flying back and forth, the Robin built a new home and then moved in. On Mother’s Day, we heard the first tweets from a new brood of baby chicks, resounding throughout our house. We couldn’t believe it: four new chicks, blind and clamoring for food! We set up a ladder and have watched the feedings from several feet away. We’ve even learned that the parent Robin scoops up the babies’ poop after each feeding, flying away with it to keep the nest clean. We giggle as we watch the Robin toss the poop elsewhere in our yard.

I’ve appreciated the power of patient observation during our time at home, and I’ve marveled at our young children’s desire to explore the world, however they can. Exploration for young children is largely tactile but this experience has taught me not to discount even our littlest children’s capacity for slow, silent observation of the world they occupy. Children are always explorers, always learners, and even in this odd new reality they face, their powers of observation and inquiry will push them forwards in their journey.

I’d love to hear from you – what is your child observing and inquiring about these days? What parts of the world fascinate them?

Shabbat shalom,




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