by Phyllis Chesler
“Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table…”
T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Male House Finch
Yesterday, as I lay “etherized upon a table” for a GI series (nothing fatal discovered, problems exist requiring new medication and another way of eating), I was so happy to receive a set of photos taken by my colleague Donna Hughes on her farm in the North East. Each bird is so beautiful, so present, so precious, so supremely unaffected that such qualities put human vanity to shame. Cities, for all their advantages, have fewer birds and animals, fewer trees, less grass—except in certain designated areas. Nature is consoling because it reminds us that we are part of a great chain of being, that we have a place—a small place—in the grand scheme of things. And so we can breathe in the moment as we take it all in.