Birding in the Face of Terror

Release date: 19 June 2020

How would our lives be different if we could weather the storms of tragedy and loss without fear? What if the fearlessness were not a result of isolation from others or insulation in false hope and comforting beliefs, but of full immersion in uncertainty, armed only with the knowledge and trust that what we perceive as the entirety of a lifetime is nothing compared to what Life really is?

With the raw, surreal events of September 11, 2001 as the backdrop, “Birding in the Face of Terror” is told by two parallel narrators, Joseph and Pedro, facing the same spiritual crisis. Both must use their scattershot religious and philosophical background to come to grips with psychological exiles of their own devising. Joseph, trapped by circumstance as an eyewitness to the terrifying events on the East Coast, is forced from his agoraphobic shell into a hero’s role. Pedro is secluded and silenced on the West Coast, left to plumb his own interior landscape to make sense of it all. The saving grace of connection comes in ways both ordinary and mysterious when a kindred clan of mystics from the Heartland emerge, offering a middle road between their extremes.

As John Donne famously told us, “No man is an island.” “Birding” contemplates this timeless truth anew, unveiling answers both familiar and revolutionary. Though it flips the bird in the face of our post-9/11 security hysteria and de facto state religion, it does so by pointing toward an alternate way of seeing that confounds common assumptions about who we are. While tipping some of our most sacred cows, it also makes space for everyday miracles to work their wonders through characters who never expected themselves to be holy. The result is an upwelling inspiration, steeped in a no-nonsense pantheistic spirituality that will speak to today’s savvy, multicultural truth seekers.

“Birding” is an antidote for our age of anxiety, a hopepunk testament of love and wholeness for a culture broken by fear.


“If you are looking for a spiritual fable for modern times, look no further. This is a beautiful, transcendent tale of finding peace and truth during crises and I highly recommend it to everyone. The person who picks up the book will not be the same person who puts it down. It is truly transformational.”

“Some stories have a way of moving us to laughter and tears, and provoking thought. This is one of those stories. I believe there is something in here to which everyone can relate deeply. It truly is a small, enormous, wonderful world we live in.”

“Every now and again an author seems to catch your thoughts and put them on paper. Waldo Noesta has done just that. Within the context of one of the most tragic events in recent history, he shares with us his vision of god/source/spirituality. A compelling story, told with clarity, humour and tears.”

“This is a spellbinding tale told from the point of view of two narrators living on opposite sides of the country, but connected by the tragic events of 9/11. It is the story of the remembrance and the recognition of the primal unity that binds every human story and every atom in the universe to the deepest levels of their being. That eternal Reality, that Supreme Identity, in the West is called God, and in the East the Tao, or Brahman. Birding is the Perennial Philosophy in fictional form and a rollicking good yarn it is.”

“This book is clever. A tale of woe, wanderlust and expansive love… Framed in a modern, radical and indeed heretical notion about the nature of The Supreme Being. Heck yeah.”

“Excellent writing, with an easy style that is fun to read. Noesta takes broad, even cosmic concepts and brings them to life. His message is both timely and timeless.”

“Intelligently written and thought provoking. A captivating read that’s good for the soul. I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Birding’ and anxiously await Mr. Noesta’s next publication.”

“A captivating tale about the adventures of the heart. Waldo Noesta poetically describes two tales happening simultaneously on a unforgettable day in history. One man struggles with a turbulent relationship during uncertain times, while across the country a husband comes to grips with being separated from his wife during a national disaster. These two narratives weave together to form a modern parable of love. Highly recommended if you are searching for a novel that will stimulate your mind, as well as warm your soul.

–excerpts from reviews at the Amazon page for “Birding’s” first incarnation


Prologue: “My name, you ask?”

Act I: Introducing Nadia

Act II: Meeting Betty Pickett

Act III: News reaches the bus

Act IV: The birding show goes on

Act V: Inner Light


The Resurrection of “Birding” — Waldo’s inside scoop on how he and JP bridged the nearly six-year gap between print editions of this collaborative story

Birding: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack –find out why the soundtrack was finished before the book and the film version

Birding: From China with Love — The Landmark Tours — see real photos of Pedro and his Chinese motor coach passengers from his memorable tours of the Western national parks in the summer of 2001

Birding: Pedro and Nadia — JP whips out the old family album and gives us a glimpse of the reality behind the two main characters on the West Coast stage

A Sort of Homecoming: Central Coast Revisited, 2010 JP in his own words, describing the very fruitful reconnaissance mission that brought the West Coast setting of Birding back to life and resurrected the manuscript after years of neglect

Beyond These Four Walls — Some further developed thoughts on the depth of allegorical significance in the “All the world’s a stage. You’ll get over it” epigraph and the “world as theater” motif, plus some additional insight into the reality of “I and I.”

End of the Road? — A February 2021 landslide closed a section of California Route 1 south of Big Sur indefinitely, prompting this excerpt from Act V as a tribute to this fabled and now endangered iconic roadway


Birding is now in print again! Follow links to purchase from various sources (more will be added as they are created):

Apple Books (e-book)

Amazon (paperback or Kindle)

Barnes and Noble (paperback or Nook)

Book Locker (paperback or PDF e-book) (paperback)

Kobo (e-book)

ND Media Bookstore (paperback only — buy direct from the publisher to support independent media!)

Buffalo Street Books
Ithaca, New York
Odyssey Bookstore
Ithaca, New York

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Not Two Home

Published by Waldo Noesta

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