April 4–Nature: Today’s Gift

I woke up this morning for the first time at 4:30.  I had to go to the bathroom, so despite how badly I wanted to stay in warmth of the bed.  I moved.  I woke up the second time at 5:00.  One lone eloquent bird let go a long and really melodic song.  Then, he stopped, and it was silent for a while.  Into the silence, I fell asleep again.  I woke up for the third and final time sometime after 6:00.  There was a faint sign of light coming through the window, but what really got my attention was the entire chorus of birds singing.  That one fellow had, apparently alerted the whole community:  hey, it’s spring!  We have things to do.

Nature knows that it’s time to move, and it’s time to move to life, life-making, life-keeping and life protecting activities.  I’m sure that’s what that first birdsong was this morning: one ready fellow to find a mate and begin the process of bringing more of his kind into the pair blue birdsworld.  I wondered for a few minutes–about what kind of bird it was, about whether he and his mate had started building a nest yet.  Would he do that?  Would she?  Would they do it together?  Who would sit on the eggs?  Who would find food?  How many eggs would there be?  Would they all make it to fly away day?  That is the whole movement–toward life and toward living, and yet, it’s a tender process.

A wise friend observed to me recently that we tend in our society to expect there to be life and living.  We presume it, and we rather demand it to go according to our expectations. In fact, if we are honest, life is tenuous, tender and not at all a given–at least not a presumptuous given.  Nature at this time of the year is moving toward the making of new life, but each step is precious, fragile and vulnerable to many possibilities.

I want to live into the birdsong this morning:  of hope, of love, of life, of joy, of vitality and of new creation.  I also want to hold life today, with all those possibilities, like a tender nest of eggs.  Care required.  Duty required.  Gratitude offered.  At the end of the day, if nothing came of this bird’s life but that one beautiful song that woke me up this morning, what a gift.  The gift is today.  Celebrate what life brings forth.

Bob Patrick

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