Winter is truly here with a respectable -22 C morning. The snow is crunchy and crystalline, and the river shivers under its growing skin. Life stirs house by house, as first one plume of smoke and then another rises out of the neighbours’ chimneys. All seems still, silenced by the cold, except for the birds of winter.
I’ve neglected the birdfeeder lately. The odd chickadee hops over to investigate their previous source of food, then flies off to search for other, more generous backyards. I miss them. I miss the chatter and flutter and closeness of small life.
I miss the messages they carry from another kingdom. Over the years, they have been to me heaven’s carrier pigeons. (For God’s voice is woven and wafted throughout all creation.) A year ago, a bird was somehow tied up with the beginning of this journey of a life of prayer.
Lent is a time for fasting. But it’s also a time for feeding the soul.
This Lent, I’ve decided to feed the birds.
Junco – Carrier of secrets, she knows where to find the hidden seed. She knows the song of the wind.
(Give me ears to hear!)
Chickadee – Cheerful herald through winter’s cold, constant companion of woods and windowsill, bright bringer of joy.
(Give me a heart of joy!)
Sparrow – Common beauty building her nest, crafting a refuge of kindness out of bits and pieces, gathering nature’s scraps into a soft bed for her young.
(Give me wings of kindness!)
We will go out into the cold and fill up the feeder, scatter the seeds, and send our invitation. We will watch and wait for the birds to come back. We will listen, and learn, and lean close. We will feed the hunger of winter.
We will wait for the return of the birds . . .