Jazz Birds

I love hearing songbirds in the mornings in Berkeley and I welcome being awake at five in the morning to experience the full swell. I’ve camped out often and traveled extensively, and I’ve never heard anything like what I did every morning for nearly a week at Humbolt Redwoods State Park, on an early July adventure with my son.

At first, one bird would sing the core song and one on the other side of me would answer it, not exactly, but mimicking it with the resolution of the finality of a musical line. That would grow and continue throughout the ancient forest and then the core song changed slightly, one bird then mimicking the new version, completing the musical line.

The morphing continued, with other birds picking up on the changes and riffing off them, so gradually over hours, their individual songs had become something entirely different from those at dawn, yet still within the same musical framework.

It was very much jazz, improvisation that often played with dissonant sounds, staying within a basic chord progression but going wild within those limits.

My health improved so much being there, sleeping outside without even a tent, I even wondered if songbird therapy had contributed. I thanked them just in case, singing their song back at them, with a new riff of my own.jazz birds


I love hearing the bird songs outside my window in Berkeley and walking wherever I go, saying hello to the trees I pass.

I’ve lived a wild life with many long periods of pure nature such as living with bears and sea lions in the forests or howling with the wolves in canyons, other times in a dynamic city, or on an isolated island.

I care about truth, no matter how many beliefs and heroes I have to let go of. I find the process of searching through layers of media deception to uncover reality fascinating, as is understanding the history of their manipulation of society.

I teach fiction writing with UCLA X Writing Program, Writers.com, WritersCollege and my own Tantra Bensko’s Online Writing Academy (OWA). I have a couple hundred short stories, around 100 poems, as well as articles, art and photography, in magazines and anthologies.