Waiting for Birds

There is something so beautiful and small about feeding the birds. I paused on my walk through the woods and stretched out my hand. In the distance, both in front and behind, the sound of children’s laughter and crunching of crisp snow echoed along the otherwise secluded path. 

I raised my hand a little higher. The little black seeds stood out against my open palm, an offering extended freely. The sun filtered through the spindly branches and cast shadows: those little strips of light were painting the snow. I looked up.

I could hear the chickadees singing – no songs in particular, but just hopeful fragments of melody, as though the sounds were just a part of their being and came naturally. I could hear them, but only saw the birds in glimpses. They perched on branches half in sight. They watched me and waited. I waited too – in silence, we saw one another, and in that moment there was only enough room for being, for breathing in the silence and song. At last the bird approached – landed on my hand – quickly took a seed – and was gone – wings blurred in the intertwining trees.

I waited for another small moment – another small encounter with silence. And I felt a strange simplicity, disarming truth in standing there with hand outstretched, in looking up, in waiting with expectant hope. We wait for the good things of which we can see only glimpses; but we wait nonetheless. Because there can always be joy in the ordinariness of life, in the unnecessary kindnesses and undocumented beauty. Even when the path is flecked with shadow – the light makes it so, and we continue looking up.