How would our lives be different if we could weather the storms of tragedy and loss without fear? What if the fearlessness were not a result of isolation from others or insulation in false hope and comforting beliefs, but of full immersion in uncertainty, armed only with the knowledge and trust that what we perceive as the entirety of a lifetime is nothing compared to what Life really is?
These are the core questions at the heart of “Birding in the Face of Terror.” With the raw, surreal events of September 11, 2001 as the backdrop, the story is told by two parallel narrators, Joseph and Pedro. Both must come to terms with psychological exiles of their own devising. Joseph, trapped by circumstance as an eyewitness to the terrifying events on the East Coast, is forced from his agoraphobic shell into a hero’s role, while Pedro is on the West Coast, secluded and silenced by forces also beyond his control, left to plumb his own interior landscape to make sense of it all. The saving grace of connection comes in ways both ordinary and mysterious when a middle road emerges between their extremes.
As John Donne famously told us, “No man is an island.” Birding contemplates this timeless truth anew.Though it flips the bird in the face of our post-9/11 security hysteria and de facto state religion, it does so by pointing toward an alternate way of seeing that confounds common assumptions about who we are. While thus tipping some of our most sacred cows, it makes space for everyday miracles to work their wonders through characters who never expected themselves to be holy. The result is an upwelling inspiration, steeped in a no-nonsense, hopepunk spirituality that will speak to today’s savvy, multicultural truth seekers. It is an antidote for our age of anxiety, a testament of love and wholeness for a culture broken by fear.