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?
With the raw, surreal events of September 11, 2001 as the backdrop, “Birding in the Face of Terror” is told by two parallel narrators, Joseph and Pedro, facing the same spiritual crisis. Both must use their scattershot religious and philosophical background to come to grips 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. Pedro is secluded and silenced on the West Coast, 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 kindred clan of mystics from the Heartland emerge, offering a middle road between their extremes.
As John Donne famously told us, “No man is an island.” “Birding” contemplates this timeless truth anew, unveiling answers both familiar and revolutionary. 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 tipping some of our most sacred cows, it also 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 pantheistic spirituality that will speak to today’s savvy, multicultural truth seekers.
“Birding” is an antidote for our age of anxiety, a hopepunk testament of love and wholeness for a culture broken by fear.