Birds of Nebraska: Newspaper Accounts, 1854-1923

Editor [possibly Greenleaf]. July 1, 1923. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 58(40): 4-E. A bird editorial.

The Cathedral Bird.

One need not be mightily religious to appreciate this thought, although cathedrals are not ill places to be in - and the sounds therefrom are not ill sounds.

The Wood Thrush has a cathedral of his own, and a bonnie one, likewise - vaulted with leaves that seem to serve him to his will: to spray him with sifted sunshine or to exalt him with the holy opalescent altar-gloom.

Maybe there are louder and nobler songsters given us - truly sweeter for the nonce. The Cardinal may whistle while the whole world wonders; the Bluebird may murmur to bring tears to one's eyes and the Warbling Vireo or the Baltimore Oriole may give an Irish ditty or a bold American carol to drag us from dreamland in the morn - but the Wood Thrush brings us back to our conscience.

The Wood Thrush is greatly like a conscience. He is mostly invisible and yet weird. Any conscience is weird until it is seen - thereafter it is beautiful because it is cleaned - and it becomes no longer a conscience but a song - as that of the Wood Thrush.

Today you may prove that these wards are not wildly sentimental, for if you will seek the deepest parts of the woods - the Wood Thrush will take care of the disproving.

You will hear that bell-like, deliberately measured tone come from somewhere-nowhere - and may pursue it for a while, as if it were foxfire leading you astray. Yet when you find its source, it will be the cleanest brown-baked little bird, with breast black-speckled, and he will be hiding from you in a very open place on some limb in his green-vaulted cathedral - asking you to realize him.

So close, so mysterious - so terribly sweet and mysterious - just like your conscience.