An Orchestra of Avocets

A few black and white birds, most probably avocets, if I remember correctly were flying calmly around me in great circles. They seem to have their beaks open, and relishing whatever they were eating as they flew. They were completely at peace around me, and a great sense of serenity swept through me watching them. My vantage point was perfect. I was on a hill overlooking a lake and the avocets darted in and out at times, but glided seamlessly at others. I had just decided to not reach out my hands and touch the beautiful birds  so I could have them comfortably flit above me for a while longer, when the alarm went off. 

It was one of those nights that melt into morns – seamlessly, and far too quickly. It is a blessing indeed to be able to get up when in the midst of a beautiful dream, so surreal, calm, peaceful and oh so vivid, and I felt a great sense of possibility and serendipity as I bustled through the morning and hustled the children to school. 

The son & I hummed and listened to our favorite Disney songs on the way to school. Before starting what promised to be a full day I wondered what a group of avocets are called. Then, my meetings called and I forgot all about them.

Before piling into bed sixteen hours later, I said to the daughter, that I wished to be a hedgehog. You know just curl up under a cosy tree and forget about everything and sleep. I don’t know if hedgehogs really do so, but they definitely look like it.

I have often wondered while standing and admiring birds and other fauna in suburbia whether they ever feel the same way. Do we give them peace the way they give us peace? Do they decide to stop and look at us so they can feel peaceful as they go about their days? I think not. But what a lofty goal that would be. I suppose we are curious creatures to many of our fauna friends.

That night, I opened the book, Sweet Dreamers – by Isabelle Simler, and was I in for a surprise?

This is a children’s book that shows the many denizens of the planet settling into sleep. A bat hangs upside down, while whales float with one eye closed amidst jellyfish floats, and koalas hug eucalyptus trees. There is a page for hedgehogs curling up to sleep.

The hedgehog in the book, Sweet Dreamers

It is a sweet lyrical book, but the illustrations are what seals the book. On every page are stunning revelations. Scratch that – they are beyond stunning. Every page looks like the artist got up after seeing themselves in this joyous avatar in their dreams and just captured the sensations. 

Children’s book illustrations are always a joy to behold – this one tugs ones attention. 

Before flitting to sleep, I checked what a group of avocets is called. They are referred to as an orchestra of avocets. What a fitting collective noun for the birds of joy?

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