How can I begin to describe what I feel sitting here in the back yard, looking out at this sunny patch of grass in front of me? It’s so difficult to convey in words the way my heart purrs, like a kitten kneading its mother’s soft belly-fur.
I want for nothing here in this sunny patch of grass in the back yard. The trees alone could entertain me for a lifetime. I see among their naked branches last spring’s nests – like tea cups they are cradled where branches fork in search of sky, waiting patiently for their birds to return.
Oh how I wait for those birds to return, with their morning love songs to the rising sun, and their loud territorial pronouncements. These trilling, fluttering, tender little existences remind me how much closer the more-than-human is to truth and God than any old belief the human mind can prop up and hold onto.
Why, just now a Northern Mockingbird landed under our young lemon tree, wing-flashing, claw-scratching and beak-digging the soil looking for insects. Like me, it has fallen back on silence for the winter, but when the time comes it alone will burst on the scene with a dazzling repertoire of songs to fill the dewy air. Who would have thought this small bundle of flesh and feathers could make a living here on Earth with just a tiny brain full of sounds and a tiny pair of vocal chords to express them? Surely if it can learn the songs of this patch of land it finds itself in then so can I, and I can sing them too.
The difference one soul makes in the world!
And how fecund, how abundant, how ambrosiac this world is, how it showers us with gifts and we, in arrogance and greed, declare it boring, and turn away for more. Dozens of songs in this small bundle of flesh and feathers, dozens of songs this tiny pair of vocal chords.
“Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye”, and this is why I write, and this is why I look, closer and closer.
What more? The lively sound of a woodpecker’s beak hammering down on a tree trunk? An unmistakable experience. The fuzzy tails of squirrels as they scuttle up and down the tree, chasing each other? Just now I can see one perched on the edge of a stubby branch. The wind is catching the tip of its tail, scattering little hairs about, but it is midday, and it is tired and sleepy. The dog is laid out on the deck, sunning and sleepy too; a peaceful squirrel scene for once.
What of the blue sky between the branches, and the hawk that soars across it? And then beyond that the sun, my reigning King supreme! I blow a kiss to thank him for the sensual gifts of warmth and comfort on this cold winter day.
I could write so much more, and will, I suspect, for years to come. For as long as I live and write in this house of ours, I need not go farther than Here for Heaven; wrens, woodpeckers, lemons, hawks and all.
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