An article on the latest findings about birds’ brains reports that the bird’s cerebrum is like that of a mammal, allowing such complex behavior as using tools and making the distinct and varied sounds of language. Our western Biblical tradition goes much further in forging bonds between birds and us. The raven and the dove were the messengers of hope to Noah. They told him that he was a good man, that he had survived the Great Flood that destroyed all the rest of Creation, and they led him to the mountains and dry land to begin life again.
Birds are still bringing us the messages about the state of the Earth and ourselves that only birds can bring. When we follow their migration paths across the world, we learn how widespread are the effects of global warming on plants and air and water, and so, on us. We learn from close observation of birds, about pollination, about principles of flight and anatomy, about flocking habits and group behavior, about metabolism and heart rates, about infectious diseases. And when we watch them fly, we are struck by the fact that flight is both impossible for us to comprehend and beautiful—and so, across the world, it is one of the most prevalent metaphors for the soul.
Tela Zasloff ©