Photograph by Rick Hebenstreit © 2006. Used with permission.
The sun was just peeking over the horizon as I sipped my first cup of coffee this morning. Save for the occasional creak, the house was quiet… even the dog lay sleeping.
This near silence is savory and surreal at our house. You see, about this time every year, we stop feeding the fire in our wood stove and turn off the fans; fans that push the warm air out and fans that suck the warm air in- the necessary distributors of essential heat
horrid purveyors of continuous noise.
That day- the day we switch off the fans- is like a personal holiday for me. Goodbye to long winter months spent listening to the constant drone. This morning, in the bit of day just before dawn, as the fog lingered over the lake, I just sat and listened to the absence of noise.
Photograph by Papierdreams © 2009. Used with permission.
As things get quieter inside the house with the days of early spring, the noise is steadily increasing outside. The birds have come home after wintering away. Aviators of all sizes dart back and forth in the sky with bits of grass and string as they busily build their nests; they perch on branches and sing rapturously in a hundred different keys. Ahhhh…. I wrapped the blanket a little more tightly around my shoulders and lifted my cup to take another sip, when, “Whap!”
A bird hit the window.
Photograph by Pete Walkden © 2009. Used with permission.
After I mopped up the mess I made as a result of jumping straight out of my chair, I went to the window to discover a beautiful, little wren laying stunned just outside the back door. When this kind of tragedy occurs, it is always the same course of action; my son, Will, quickly steps in. First, he finds a suitable box and lines it with a soft towel. Then, he carefully lifts the bird off the ground and places it in the box, promising to nurse it to health, but secretly hoping to keep it forever. He places the box in a safe place, away from predators and elements such as, wind, sun, or rain. Over and over, Will visits the motionless bird, gently stroking the still feathers and speaking soft words of encouragement. He waits for signs of life. Most often, the injured bird slowly regains it’s strength and takes flight. Then we all celebrate.
Photograph by Margaret Holland © 2011. Used with permission.
Today, I spent some time thinking about that little bird. How many times have I flown straight into a window? There have been times I have lay on the ground stunned… either by the stupidity of my decisions in flight- or by the sheer injustice of the placement of the window. Sometimes windows can be so clear… invisible barriers that don’t appear to be in the path at all. God gently lifts me off the ground like a wounded bird, gently stroking my feathers and speaking to me in melodic whispers. He sustains me with the tiniest drops of nutrition and keeps me protected until I regain my strength. He constantly checks on me, hopes for me and prays for me. He doesn’t seem to think about how careless I was to fly straight into a window. He plans for my complete recovery. I am so precious, He wants to keep me… but instead, sets me free to try again.
On the days when I feel like a stupid, aimless bird who has hit a hard window, not once, but again, He nurtures, sustains, and helps me.
As I recover in the restful silence, He teaches me a new song, and sends me back into flight.