My friend Marian and I went for a walk in the woods yesterday. The sun lit up the patches of snow and we shuffled our way through the icy spots.
Lots of folks were doing the same, and it was with great joy that we greeted them on the trail. It felt like long lost friends united within the beauty of the world.
Marian had been on this journey before, and early on our trek she stopped in a quiet, sheltered place. She listened, and so did I. There was the voice of a cardinal. I remembered it from way back in my past. But Marian was listening for something else: the call of the chickadee. It wasn’t there. So we walked on.
Sunlight flowed through the bare branches as we approached a crossing of the paths. A young family came by with sunflower seeds in their hands. Marian was similarly prepared. Three young arms extended but no birdies plopped down.
Soon it was just Marian and me at the crossroads. Palms up, we waited.
A touch. A landing. I moved my eyes down and to the left and there stood a tiny fluffball of feathers, weighing virtually nothing … but so very alive. He or she bit down on a seed, and then poof! Off to the dining room.
I was in awe. This bird had graced me with their presence and then left. This puny human had no power to control the proceedings. There were moments of here and some of not here. Both are lovely.
Marian and I welcomed many visitors over the next half hour – some tiny winged ones and some heavier ones, clothed in their parkas. Among them was a teenaged girl, accompanied by her grandma. Marian offered the gift of seed. “Can I?” she asked. Grandma nodded. The girl’s arm went horizontal and she waited. I could feel her heart beating fast.
Soon there was a call from further up the trail. “Hurry up!” The girl jerked to leave and both Marian and I silently willed her to stay. She lingered a few seconds more …
A heavenly visitor descended to her palm. The girl’s mouth opened wide and all of us shared in her wonder. It was the moment of the day.
The girl walked up the trail, turning her head to wave goodbye, and to show us a radiant smile. All it took to create such a sweet space was a handful of sunflower seeds and a few kind words.