I can see them.
The leaves are mostly gone now, except for a few brittle pieces stem-stuck onto bare branches quivering, so sparrows are exposed, tiny twittering tufts of feathers quivering on un-dressed limbs.
It is not like June when, although I hear their songs, it doesn’t matter how hard I stare into the trees, I can never see them.
A canopied, protected hallelujah chorusing, it is.
November is different.
November is a hard gray time.
It is a time when shadows bank early over the remains of harvest places.
It is time when skies come in heavy, leaden, low.
It is a time when things really do die.
I scatter seed.
I stand on hard ground now to fill the feeders and look up into an empty sky wondering how they know that I am filling this for them.
Seeds spill onto the ground. The birds will not waste them.
These birds, my winged friends, are my teachers.
They teach me that even though all around me is bark brittle and decayed dirt, there is rejoicing to be done.
There is singing still to be sung in leafless trees.
There are proclamations to be proclaimed across barren fields.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Little birds, whom I watch from my kitchen window, show me that I have nothing to fear. No dark shadow can overtake me. The only shadow where I will find refuge is under a holy Shadow, under holy wings. I am able to rejoice, to sing, to give thanks even when I am being buffeted by an early winter wind and my seeds, all my plans, my efforts, my hard doings, have fallen to the ground. Nothing is wasted in the kingdom of God.
The birds know where to find what they need.
They just know.
And their knowing makes them glad.
An exposed, buffeted glad- thanks chorusing, it is.
They are sacred little creatures sent to me from Him when November threatens to close in on me.
They show me where His courtyard is.
Thanksgiving is for the birds.
My very being longs, even yearns,
for the Lord’s courtyards.
My heart and my body
will rejoice out loud to the living God!
Yes, the sparrow too has found a home there;
the swallow has found herself a nest
where she can lay her young beside your altars,
Lord of heavenly forces, my king, my God!
Those who live in your house are truly happy;
they praise you constantly.