Invitation to Wonder

BookI'm reading the coolest book right now; it's called Invitation to Wonder: A Journey Through the Seasons, by Elizabeth Ayers.

Invitation to Wonder is a delightful meander on nature, cycles, metaphor and physicality, and touches on so many subjects you might not have otherwise connected. I'm just starting to read, but already finding it full of wonder and insight.

Talking about the mystery of birdsong, which apparently only male birds do (and only in the spring to attract a mate), Ayers says that because young birds learn their songs from their fathers, variations build up over the years to create disctinctive regional "dialects".

She says that bird-song is probably more individual artistic creation than species-specific expression, and goes on to report a fascinating biological fact:

"Experiments with zebra finches prove that birds actually rehearse their songs in sleep, using their dream time to hone a whole range of improvzations they'll implement come dawn."

Perhaps I find this fascinating partly because of how I too experience creativity in that liminal dream state. I often wake up with particularly pleasing phrasing for something I'm trying to write about, and Ayer's words make me wonder if I've been "rehearsing" the sounds and word patterns for the prose in my sleep. I know I also sometimes work out a design problem or find a particular shade of color I need for a painting when I'm dreaming, waking up with the answer as I surface into the new day… Isn't it interesting that we share this phenomenon with our bird relatives, too?

But what about you? I'm curious… do you ever work things out your dreams?


  1. Early morning time, before I rebuild “my” life, many of my connections get made. They can slip away quickly though, like a dream, if I am not careful.

  2. First opening of eyes in the morning, beautiful time. These days yoga thoughts come streaming through from my toes on up, and phrases to capture the essence meander up from there through the mind body channels – pen at the ready with not too noisy paper is a good thing, with Fletcher still asleep to my right!

    And wow – that is fascinating stuff about the birds – I have a bird song book I have yet to delve into – here’s a good impetus – thank you, Amy!

Leave a Reply