Sae Taryeong (새타령)

4. Sae Taryeong

After a bit of daydreaming, you suddenly hear a sound echoing in the sky around you. You jump up to see two magical beings swoop by! They are two Red Birds, soaring together alongside the basket and calling out to one another. Once in a while, one will look around and call “sook sook!”, and the other will reply “sook sook-uk sook sook”! They look magical, wings outstretched, effortlessly soaring through the air. 

 

The two Red Birds notice you and begin weaving back and forth around your basket, seemingly playing, but also inviting you and The Fox, in that special way of theirs, to join their graceful flight. They appear to be guiding you someplace, so you and The Fox follow them in your basket. You wonder where they could be taking you, and what they could be saying.  

 

As you watch and listen to the Red Birds more closely, you hear patterns in their calls, and realize that they are indeed saying something. They must be! You look down and see they are not only calling out to each other, but also to creatures on the ground below. Perhaps they are telling the creatures on the ground something very important. And then you think, perhaps they are also talking about the changing season, with these sounds on these journeys! The two Blue Birds are indeed in the midst of a journey -- a long, migratory journey -- from one home to another, as the winter subsides and springtime sets in. 

 

You start to wonder if this, too, is part of the Story of Springtime that the Sun Bear mentioned. And, also, what is the Story of Springtime? You think about how these Blue Birds have seen so much of the garden and of the world, soaring over lands and seas, and how they must have so much wisdom about the world around us. If anyone could tell a Story of the Springtime, these birds could do it. You and The Fox follow the Red Birds towards a hillside, hearing them call out to creatures and other birds -- a bluebird! A sparrow! A hummingbird! You start to learn their names, their songs, and to imagine their conversations along the way, even joining their calls once in a while.

You continue to follow the magical Blue Birds across the Ocean Pond, calling out to other birds along the way. Once across the pond, the Red Birds lead you to a clearing in a hillside, right next to the Flower Beds, where they suddenly swoop straight up into the air and down across the clearing. Following the birds with your eyes, you look down into the clearing, and there, you see an incredible sight: A Gathering of animals of all shapes and sizes on the hill, sitting in a circle in the sunlight! You can just make out the figures of the animals, but as you drift closer, you see something in each of their little paws… what look like pieces of fabric, thread and knitting needles! ‘I must not be seeing things clearly,’ you think to yourself, and rub your eyes. But no, you look again, and they are still there! The Fox notices your surprised look, smiles, and gently lands the basket on the side of the clearing. You wave goodbye to the Birds.

Listen & Create

You can also listen to bird calls from all over the world on xeno-canto:

"You can only see straight ahead, but you can hear in all directions at once."

There are so many great resources for learning and listening to bird calls. I'm borrowing some pointers from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which has this great advice: 

When listening to bird calls, try to focus on one quality of the sound at a time. Many birds have a characteristic rhythm, pitch, or tone to their song. Once you zero in on it, you’ll have a better sense of the bird’s identity:

RHYTHM: Is the tempo or speed of the call fast or slow?

PITCH: Does the bird call sound very high or low? Does the pitch go down or up?

REPETITION: Does the bird repeat a sound over and over? How many times?

TONE: Is the call clear, harsh or scratchy? Liquid and flute-like, or a clear trill?"

CREATE: Take a note of what you hear, and learn more about bird calls!

Record your own bird call and try to turn it into a musical phrase. 

  • Screen Shot 2020-05-06 at 12.54.31 PM
  • Bandcamp
  • YouTube
  • Spotify
  • iTunes
  • Facebook