My 9-year-old called me, breathless, from his mother’s house.

“Dad! You’ll never believe what happened! I was riding my bike down our road and came upon an ostrich! It was twice as tall as you!”

Turns out it’s an emu. It’s been loose for over a month. It’s been covered on NPR. It’s been in the New York Times. No farmers have come forward to claim it. Animal control has had the bird in sight several times but has thus far been unable to catch it. And it’s not twelve feet tall, though I imagine it seems that way when you’re nine and you’ve never seen a hundred-pound, five-foot-tall, flightless bird.

What I love about my son’s reaction is that he didn’t wonder why or how it was there. He didn’t even speculate. It was enough to be amazed. It was enough to have seen a spectacular thing, as fantastic as a unicorn to a boy in the suburbs of Orange County.

I admit I have a scientific mind. I like to know why. However, as Michael Pollan said once, “Sometimes the poets get there first.”

When people ask me what a lyric means, or why and how I wrote them, I’m most often at a loss. Is it not enough to wonder? You have such good questions- why trade them for answers?

Sometimes we need to know. Is the emu dangerous? Is it someone’s property? Those are grown-up questions, and grown-ups run the world. Grown-ups fill out the W-9s.

Don’t forget to ask the little kid questions. Can I see the emu? Does it have a mommy? And, what the heck, IT’S TWELVE FEET TALL!!!

Can I prove that? No. Sing along! “I saw an emu and it’s twelve feet tall!” It has a ring to it.

Your fan,

Jonathan Byrd


We had a wonderful show at The Blue Note Grill in Durham this past weekend, and Robbie Dunn made a fantastic recording of the night. It’s over on our bandcamp page, along with some great shots by photographer Stan Lewis. You can download it for as little as $7, or as much as you’d like to pay for nearly two hours of a great live show. We appreciate the support and wish you could all have been there.

We’re playing three shows in our local area this week:

Tomorrow! July 31 Wed
The Kraken
Chapel Hill NC
livestream the show! 7-10pm Eastern:
on Periscope @jonathanbyrdmusic

Aug 2 Friday
opening for opening night!
Paperhand Puppet Intervention
Forest Theater
Chapel Hill, NC

Aug 3 Saturday
Saturdays in Saxapahaw
Saxapahaw, NC

and a little farther afield:

Aug 10 Sat
Oak Grove Folk Music Festival
Staunton VA

Aug 15 Thurs
Ironwood Stage & Grill
Calgary, Alberta

Aug 16 & 17
Bear Creek Folk Festival
Grand Prairie, Alberta


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