Sunday, November 30, 2008

What if chance was really design?

Consider this…

A chance encounter….

a tiny sparrow…helpless and alone.

Just a wisp of life, really… but with a special story to tell; a lesson to impart …

Did I find him or did he find me?

My little sparrow lived only long enough to fulfill his purpose.

No more. No less.

To touch hearts. Plant seeds.

Were you part of His plan?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What if a little sparrow were wiser than I?

We were headed back home again from our daily walk. Up ahead, I saw Callie stop short. Something had her attention. Her ears perked up, her nose went down and she jumped back, turned around and raced back to me. When I reached that spot, I saw a jumble of feathers on the path, perhaps part of a large bird. But, as I came closer, I realized it was a whole fox sparrow.

The poor creature was chin to the ground, missing tail and wing feathers. All about, downy fluff rolled in the breeze. I thought it must be dead, however as I knelt down, it craned its neck to look at me. It seemed in terrible shape, all twisted and wings outstretched, so I suspected it to be mortally wounded. Thinking I could do little to help, I picked it up carefully, intending to set it down at the base of a tree, where it had a little more protection. Then, in my mind, I heard the words to a much-loved childhood hymn, ‘God sees the little sparrow fall’.

How many times I heard that hymn when I was a child. It reminds me that although a sparrow may seem small and insignificant - easily expendable - our Creator considers each one to be a creature of value. This small bird had met with peril within the scant ten minutes since I first walked past this place. Two paths converged. Even if it died in a few minutes, I could not leave it behind.

Looking it over carefully, I saw no evident wounds. I covered the ruddy little body with my other hand and started for home. A spunky little thing; it grasped my glove fiercely in its beak, refusing to let go. Presently, however, it found trust and relaxed its grip.

As I write this, the little sparrow is resting in a newspaper-lined box. I heard him munching millet and sunflower seeds a while ago, and he even sat for a while on the wooden perch I made for him.

I’ve had days lately, when I, too, have felt wounded and beaten, my feathers pulled. But the tiny fox sparrow that fell on my path brought me a very important message.

Wait. Rest. Trust. Grow new feathers. The time will come to fly again.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quiet Days, Slow Walks

On days when I want to feel immensely popular, I take Callie-dog for a romp down the trail to the duck pond behind our house. She tears down the trail ahead of me, whipping around the crest of the hill, her feathery blond tail whirling, past monstrous anthills that are somewhat deflated now that the tenants have moved out. Her joy is infectious. It makes me want to run, too, but I force myself to walk slow.

She leaves me to wander alone past piles of damp deadfall lining an overgrown woods road. I spy the blaze orange of her vest just ahead and know she is busy sniffing out rabbit tracks, but will be back presently to check on me. At a fork in the trail, I turn left and enter the Dark Woods; a gloomy place, damp and shadowed with spindly spruce. There is very little soil on top of the rock here and uprooted trees pile like pickup sticks, sparse roots ripped from the moss and stone.

The days are deathly quiet now, the birds still, insects hunkered down for winter. I can see where an animal – perhaps a deer - has trod a short while ago, lifting the sodden mat of leaves. I watch for animal tracks in the damp mud and spy a cigar-shaped string of coyote scat.

These days, in the silence of autumn, I try to quiet my mind so I do not walk in oblivion. I try hard to pay attention to what I see and smell and hear. A while ago, I finished reading Sharon Butala’s wonderful book, Perfection of the Morning. Sharon lives in rural Saskatchewan and writes about her beloved prairie. She, too, appreciates long walks and the subtleties of the landscape. She, too, looks for the hidden stories and tries to listen for the voices of the land. It made me sigh in relief to read her words…she had found a way to express the inexpressible within me.

I feel frustration that I don’t know all the stories. I see, but I don’t understand. My mind is coming alive and it has questions. But it will come. I have time to find the answers.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

What if November was Beauty?

We often think of November as bleak; the time of year when we begin to pull ourselves inward for the winter. But those occasional warm days are last minute gifts to be celebrated and bleakness, like beauty, depends on the eyes of the beholder.

The Hopewell Rocks was ours alone today. Even the Bay of Fundy was empty, miles of mudflats stretching down to tiny Grindstone Island, gleaming in the sun, Shepody Mountain draped with low cloud. Callie-dog romped and we walked familiar trails while the sun darted in and out.
Down the back trail to Demoiselle Beach, we were graced with the image of trees glittering with diamonds and magical shafts of light filtering through steamy fog. As we emerged on the beach, a fog bank rolled in atop of the mudflats.
All was silent, save a pair of chortling crows. We followed rabbit and moose tracks on the beach, admired the jeweled collage of seaweed and scanned the golden bronze of the marsh grass, brushed and tufted like the fur on the dog’s back.
We sat on a log, breathed the air, listened to the silence, felt the warmth of the settling sun. Even Callie-dog was subdued today, preferring to sit quietly instead of explore for goodies in the seaweed.
Beauty. For the taking.