Friday, April 20, 2012

Without Lifting a Finger

All winter long, the flurry of cardinal, blue jay, and yellow finch sent sunflower seeds pouring over the side of the rough-hewn bird feeder my dad made out of scrap lumber and screwed atop a landscape timber before sinking it in the red clay. 

I'd watch the congregation assemble each morning for breakfast, the smaller birds cycling in and out, one by one as they fought over the limited turf to plant their tiny three-pronged feet.  Each time a larger cardinal would come in for a landing, the smaller sparrows or finches would scatter all at once, seed flying amidst wings as they fled a creature merely because of its size. 

As the cardinal feasted, slowly, the smaller birds would return, join again in the meal alongside the bird twice their size, until he decided to fly away, again sending panic through the entire flock.  Only the doves on the ground below remained, their solemn pearl grey feathers unfluttered by the traffic overhead as they dug through the refuse to find the unopened fruit.

This scene played outside my kitchen window each morning and late afternoon like a video set on a loop.  Only the bravest (or stupidest) darted in for a quick meal on the run during the height of the day, the most inquisitive venturing out of the forest when those hidden in the treetops would spread bird gossip that I had just been spotted with a full Cool Whip container brimming with black oil seeds.  

Over the past few months, the early spring rains have turned the seeds at the foot of the feeder into a solid mass of black.  As always happens, a few took root.  As doesn't always happen, I never quite got around to weeding the flower bed and tossing aside the small plants. 

Life, raising children gets in the way of perfection.  But, it seems that sometimes, doing less is more.

This entire week, I have awakened each morning to a new scene outside my window--a cluster of yellow sunflowers tipping their faces in breathless anticipation as the sun rises above the trees. 

About the height of my preschoolers, they will never tower above my head, will never equal the majestic beauty of the dinner-plate variety the squirrels dug out of the earth and feasted on the last time I planted them.  Some have faces the size of dessert plates, some the size of silver dollars.
And yet the children and I have been giddy with delight over their unexpected presence.

Each time I see them, I can't help but think of how I did nothing for this blessing.  I did not plant, did not water, and likely will not harvest.  I simply have been blessed with being able to watch their heads follow the sun throughout each day, their leaves curl and droop in rest after each moon's rise.

Many times, it's these blessings--the ones that I can take absolutely no credit for--they're the ones that grip me the most, make me most humble and thankful. 

I point out the window and can say nothing but "God gave us this."

1 comment:

  1. This:

    " ... sunflowers tipping their faces in breathless anticipation as the sun rises above the trees."

    I want to be like your sunflowers.

    You write so.very.beautifully, my friend.