Browsing the shelves of a book shop in Israel last summer, I came upon a little volume called צפור הנפש, written by Michal Snunit and illustrated by Na’ama Golomb. Published in Hebrew in 1985, it was later translated into over 20 languages, including in English (1999) as The Soul Bird. This children’s story/poem teaches that deep within each person is a special Soul Bird – being aware of and listening closely to our own inner Soul Bird can help each of us understand our feelings and cope more effectively with our emotions.
Celebrated artist David Gerstein was commissioned in 2002 to create this giant Soul Bird sculpture symbolizing Snunit’s international best seller for the famous Story Gardens in the city of Holon, Israel. There are numerous references to the connections between birds and the soul in Jewish literature – in mythology, Tehillim (Psalms), and in the Zohar – but the much-loved poem by Emily Dickinson also comes to mind:
Dickinson’s words were inspiration for countless other writers, and surely may have influenced the title of Noah Strycker’s new book: The Thing with Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal about Being Human. Strycker, the talented young author of this terrific new book and self-described ‘Birder at Large’, is associate editor of Birding magazine. I am thoroughly enjoying each unique and engaging chapter, and highly recommend his book to birders and non-birders alike!