In musical composition, a grace note is a decorative afterthought. Remove it and the melody still tracks in its groove. Its withdrawal affects nothing. In an ordinary day though, these moments might accrue and give cause for praise. Twice today among low trees bordering wetlands, in parks 30 miles distant from each other, we walked through a fall of warblers — common Yellowthroat and others, on their way to Central and South America, but this morning, many have gathered to feed. One weighs less than a single playing card. Like us they possess a four-chambered heart; theirs beats at 400 strokes per minute. They fly by night, the better to evade predators, but now they ranged from tree to tree and onto the ground, building their calories, readying themselves for their ascension this evening when some large flocks will make ghosts on radar screens. We passed into their presence, into these lives, as vital as our own, as my own on this day, my birthday, when I am trying to understand how I came to be this old and grateful for those seconds so embroidered that they bestow an unmerited grace.