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The Companionship of Birds - With Brechin Morgan

An unexpected encounter transforms anxiety into peace
© Brechin Morgan View Large

When Brechin Morgan sailed around the world by himself, he experienced severe anxiety on the second night of his voyage. A cormorant sleeping on the deck of his boat brought peace at just the right moment. “I thought, my God, if this bird can sleep on a rocky, rolly boat in the middle of a windy, bitter-cold night . . . I can sleep, too,” he recalls. “I felt the presence of a companion that had something to tell me about how to live my life. And that was that I needed to sleep!” Check out Brechin's artwork, like the painting of the gull pictured here, in Related Resources below.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

The Companionship of a Bird 

Featuring Brechin Morgan

Interview by Todd Peterson    

This is BirdNote.

[Strong wind and waves, boat moving through]  

Imagine setting out alone from Block Island, off the coast of Rhode Island, on an around-the-world sailing voyage. And on the second night, finding an unexpected companion. 

Here’s sailor Brechin [BREK-in] Morgan:

“This was the very first leg of the voyage and I was untested. The boat was untested. I left on a bitterly cold November night, heading south on a stiff breeze and I’m heading offshore alone for the first time in my life. The anxiety levels were very, very high. [wave crashing]

I came up on deck in the middle of a starless windy night. Everything was pitch black. And I saw in the very faint light what I thought was a paper bag sitting on top of the folded dinghy just forward of the hatch…And as I got a little bit closer I realized that it was a cormorant… It stood up, let its wings out, this dark shape…and then settled back down and put its head under its wing and started to go to sleep. 

And I thought, my God, if this bird can sleep on a rocky, rolly boat in the middle of a windy, bitter-cold night…I can sleep, too. And so there was this final kind of relaxation, almost like it had shown up to tell me that it’s ok to sleep on a rolling boat in the middle of an ocean … And I felt the presence of a companion that had something to tell me about how to live my life. And that was that I needed to sleep!” 

[Sound of strong wind and waves]

To learn more about Brechin’s voyage and see his paintings of the journey, begin at BirdNote.org.

###

Sail boat moving through waves recorded by J. Kessler.

Wind Nature SFX Essentials #2 recorded by Gordon Hempton of QuietPlanet.com. 

BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.

Producer: John Kessler

Executive Producer: Chris Peterson

© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org      March 2017  Narrator: Mary McCann Marantz Disk V Track 493

ID#      morganb-01-2014-03-14 morganb-01

Related field notes:

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