“Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—over and over announcing your place in the family of things.”
~From Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese”
In my sermon from Sunday May 10th, I shared about the Mama Robin protecting her babies in the nest in the backyard here at the parsonage. In chatting with some of our church family afterwards, it’s been wonderful hearing about the birds that are showing up in your backyards right now too! Perhaps new life springing forth feels all the more miraculous these days given the state of the world. Many of us are spending more time at home. And as Mary Oliver so eloquently wrote, the world is offering itself to our imaginations. Maybe now we’re paying better attention.
It’s moving, the circle of life. Baby birds in nests protected by anxious parents, birds that may one day fly high in the clean blue air. Though the truth is that (speaking of creatures in God’s good creation) I’ve been missing my dog a great deal, especially as I’ve been working from home. However, he was so protective and territorial of both me and the house that we never had birds in our yard. If they dared to cross the fence he would bark and snap and he even caught a bird at our old parsonage in Lexington. Though I was proud of his hunting skills, it was not a pretty sight—Fritz the foxhound with a dying bird in his mouth triumphantly prancing through the yard. (To be completely honest, his kill count included a rabbit, that poor bird, 4 mice, and too many spiders and stink bugs to count. That’s life with a hound, what can you do?)
So in reality Mama and Papa Robin are here next to the house because it’s unprotected right now, with no creature here anymore who’s insulted by their presence. And so I hear their loud chirping as I’m at the kitchen sink doing the dishes and making coffee and writing this reflection in the living room. Their presence brings mixed feelings because it highlights a loss. But that’s the circle of life, with endings and new beginnings all around us.
We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, that’s just not how life works.
But each day, every day, whoever we are, no matter how lonely—the world offers itself to our imagination and announces our place in the family of things.
In the end, what a gift from God.
(This Week’s Thoughts 5.14.20)