For the Birds

I grabbed the cold, metal garage door handle and pulled upward. The large, frozen springs on each side squeaked and the wooden panels groaned as the door opened. Winter sunlight poured over the salty grime on the cement floor and onto the garden shelf. I stood and surveyed the watering cans, hooks, trowels and shovels, not really knowing what I was looking for. I only had a vision, was still missing the details.

This was the last thing on my long list of to-dos.

“Make a feeder to hold the bird seed bell.”

Tomorrow, I would be a convalescent trying to recover from cuts and wounds. I wanted a bird feeder outside my bedroom window. I knew I would be spending the biggest part of the next weeks in a chair in my room and needed something to look at.

Within a few minutes my dream took on shape. I nailed two wire baskets to a naked broomstick, and hammered it all into the frozen ground by the picture window. At last, I hung the seed bell inside the cage and stood back. Now, they could come.  

******

I sit with my legs propped up on the ottoman and look out into a snow-covered and cloudy world. Below the window, the stiff remains of Russian Sage shiver. In the distance, tied to a sturdy branch of a leafless box elder tree, the old tire-swing moves gently back and forth, pushed by the wind. Has it really been decades since I heard the laughter of the kids through this open window in the summer, during those long, careless evenings?

I close my eyes and, as if visiting an abandoned house, memories flood from inside walls, and I hear those squeals.
“One more time!”
and
“Higher.”

I open my eyes again. I stare into this cold season and, for a moment, the world outside seems as empty as my womb. Tears sting as I mourn the years past. I place my hand on my swollen abdomen, become keenly aware of what is no longer, of what has been cut away. Several small incisions are proof that the room inside of me, that sacred place where the Creator knitted together my children and forged His own image into their faces, is gone. Gratitude and grief mix as I recognize this privilege of motherhood.

I feel tired and lean my head back. The heating pad is keeping the cold draft from moving under my blanket. Then, she suddenly appears.

“Chicka-dee-dee-dee”

She lands atop the cage.

Soft, downy feathers cover the tiniest body. Her little twiggy feet grab the wire cage. Beady eyes in a tilted head stare at me. She sits for a good while. I wonder what she thinks of me. I suddenly feel her freedom. Is she watching me from behind the glass, noticing me from the outside while looking in? Strangely, I feel like I am the one trapped inside a cage. She is the free. She slides effortlessly through the metal bars, pecks at the provided seeds and flies off. Within seconds, another one replaces her. Then a nuthatch. A woodpecker. Juncos. All take turns, gently ushering in a rest I am not familiar with. It must be that rest is learned. I am better at doing than at resting.

******

Over the next days they come. As I sit and watch, as I am forced to rest, they teach me, ever so gently, ever so patiently. They come several times a day. They are cared for, fed, kept warm. They fly in an out. They have stayed behind while others have left to warmer climates. How priceless their lessons to me, this reminder to embrace the seasons the way they come, to wait patiently for warmer days ahead and to know how much I am cared for and loved. 

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.
Matthew 10:29

22 Comments »

  1. Heidi this is an utterly beautiful piece of writing! As an old birdwatcher who sits watching his feathered friends on the bird table outside my window, I can relate to your situation. May our Father God bless you as you recover.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alan, what a joy to (cyber) meet you. Your words at your place are so up-lifting!!! Thanks for sharing what the Lord is teaching you. I am looking forward to learning from/with you! Blessings, brother!

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      • Heidi it is indeed a great pleasure to cyber-meet you too sister! Your post really resonated with me and my lifelong love of birds; as I write now I can see Blue Tits on my peanut feeders taking turn about! The skill with which you weave your words is a pleasure to see. I do have a few bird related devotions in my catalogue you may enjoy. I look forward to reading more of your words, may God bless you sister.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Things that are balm to the soul, heal and calm mind and body. Waves washing onto the shore, looking deeply into a cracking fire and chickadees. I look at the snow laden tire swing every day. Good one Heidi. The Lord does use little things to restore us.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Such picturesque, lovely words, written by a simple, clay jar that’s full of Heavenly treasure and has slowly formed godly wisdom in a willing woman. Such an honor, to get to be filled with images of relaxing, earthly glory, created by our Master, Himself!
    Giving me a well-earned beatific “vision” after dutifully taking care of all worldly responsibilities that filled my senses with Satan’s stench.
    Then when my reading was done, to have the blessed Holy Spirit fill my mind with that glorious old hymn, Crown Him with Many Crowns, the Lamb upon His Throne………….
    Many thanks to you, Heidi, for continuing to use the skilful gift that He has so gracefully given to you, and all of us, who again have caught a glimpse of glory to come, because of it!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Heidi, your writing is so visual and so personal. Yet it never feels forced or worse, that you’re just talking about yourself. A good story is, somehow, always about the reader.
    🙏 for a speedy and complete recovery. Please keep writing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, David. This is one of the kindest comments to a lover of ordinary story. How easy it is to make this world about us … You looked into my deepest desire to see the reader and “speak” his heart, too … to propel him to a greater cause while sharing in this life together.

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  5. First of all, what a clever and attractive birdfeeder you created, Heidi–worthy of pinterest! Second, I love the way some of the smallest creatures among us–chickadees, nuthatches, and juncoes–can teach us big lessons. ( Two summers ago I journaled lessons from hummingbirds!) May this season of rest be the catalyst for more glorious discoveries about God and His ways. Your body may be inactive, but your mind and spirit can be wide awake and receptive–in between naps!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I wasn’t sure if I could pound that broomstick (bereft the broom part of course) into the ground. But the metal threads at the bottom proved helpful (along with a couple of bricks to sturdy the whole thing) …Today, it’s a little warmer … and … I see squirrels hopping around. Hmm … I am praying they teach me a few lessons as well … at this point they are just annoying me as they are inching their way toward my feeder 😬

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you Heidi, for sharing this time in your life. Blessings for your rest — restoration?
    We all need this at different ages and stages. And as our heavenly Father teaches us He draws us ever so close to Himself. Rest in Him.

    Liked by 2 people

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