Friday, October 15, 2010

Red Bird

Red bird came all winter

Firing up the landscape

As nothing else could.

Of course I love the sparrows,

Those dun-colored darlings,

So hungry and so many.

I am a God-fearing feeder of birds,

I know he has many children,

Not all of them bold in spirit.

Still, for whatever reason-

Perhaps because the winter is so long

And the sky so black-blue,

Or perhaps because the heart narrows

As often as it opens-

I am grateful

That red bird comes all winter

Firing up the landscape

As nothing else can do.

Visitors to this country often remark to me, “Wow, those cardinals are such beautiful birds and they are everywhere! Do you ever get tired of them?” I suppose there are some days where their flash of red does not get much of a heart’s rise out of me. If the cardinals are so observed, what then of the sparrows and their kind? In birder circles, when faced with sparrows that at least for the likes of me are difficult to identify, we call them “little-brown-jobs (LBJs). I never really thought that it was because I didn’t care about sparrows or that I held a speciesist stance with any birds until one day out walking with my spouse. He was learning to identify birds and a large bird flew over, and he said, “What was that?” He was on the lookout for hawks or falcons (aren’t we all?). I said, “It’s just a crow.” He looked at me real hard , you know that kind of look where you suspect you are in trouble or someone is in love with you, or both. He asked what I meant by “just a crow.” There you have it. Caught out by spouse and crow. I admit that it takes work for me to see beauty and worth in every being. I appreciate the easy wonder – the clear stars this morning and the Barred –Owl hooting me to sleep last night-for the days can be hard. For the hope that the days are not hard for sparrows, spouses, and special beings (which would be them all), may I be open to beauty everywhere and in everyone. Will you join me today in looking for beauty where you usually only see dull or dispiriting aspects to life?

What do you react to like a “cardinal” and what do you react to like a “sparrow?"

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