Feeding the Flock
One of my greater joys this winter has been the arrival of a flock of house sparrows to my make shift bird feeder. It all started last summer, with a gift from Ellen, and some instructions from bird lovers along the way. Oh yes, and a whole bunch of waiting. Hopeful waiting.
My place is close to the urban core, and my favorite haunt, the City Market. Not many trees around here, except for the ones planted last summer in the new soccer field across the street. In short, a brave new world for birds. But, I didn’t give up. Even when my first visitor was a little grey field mouse. He looked so brave carrying away a whole peanut, bigger than him. It took several more months, but then one day, there were a few little brown birds eating from the flower planter I was using. I joyfully announced the event on Facebook to my bird feeding friends and called my sister too. She watches them every morning, and their backyard is a bird sanctuary.
( Photo credits: Jean Théodore Dupas (French; Art Nouveau, Art Deco, 1882-1964): Project for XVme Salon des Artistes Decorateurs, 1924. Gouache, Conté crayon, and charcoal on paper, with silvered wood frame; 29-1/2 x 28 inches (75 x 71 cm). Steven A. Greenberg Collection. )
I quickly added a white bowl of seed, and a white bowl for water. On cold days, I add warm water. Now, I have a flock, and two squirrels I named Elwood and Jake, after the Blues Brothers.
I hear them before I see them. Usually a single chirp, like they are calling me. I go to the door and watch them. Now, they stay, as if my presence isn’t scary anymore. I knew they felt my vibration, because they watched the door while I was behind it, and I wasn’t moving. They greet me from a tall tree next to the building when I pull up in the car. They welcomed me home from surgery and lined every corner of the steel fence and facade Christi created (in the shape of a dinosaur.) I have a relationship with these winged beings that nourishes me as much as it nourishes them.
I’m glad I’ve had the time to develop it, because I feel a change coming, and my schedule may not afford me this intimacy, this way, for much longer. A reciprocal feeding, just like I imagine the great being that created me might have as I have come cautiously to be fed too. I’m deliberate with my moments with God, but it started out a lot like these little birds. Flying in for a brief visit; stealing a piece of seed, and zooming off to known protection. Then, a closer and longer stay, but within sight of a hiding place. Finally, a full fledged eating from the bowl, and a joyful announcement to others. And, sharing with them too. For the birds, it has been squirrels and morning doves and mice.
These birds remind me that something beautiful has shifted in my life. They began to eat here in earnest in November when I first published Going Naked Being Seen on Kindle. The Valentine’s Day Share the Love Giveaway enabled the book to reach #1 in three Best Seller categories on Amazon, including Biography and Memoir. As the reports rolled in, I felt the pulse of life grow stronger, knowing all the while something larger was at work, behind the scenes, that I could not explain. I can only pray that my story feeds a hungry flock, even though it may take time for people to discover it too, just like it did for my little birds. I hope they will, because living the story into being, writing and releasing it into the world, was an act of creation guided by Intelligent love. It was a calling. Perhaps like a bird song.
I feel like I am fed by something that can nourish others too. I don’t grow the seed that I feed to the birds, and I didn’t create the love or wisdom in the story either. I know where to find supply, how to share it, and how to watch with delight when the feeding happens.
I understand now why my friend Ellen loves birds so much. Feeding others is a gift of grace, and a joy.
Here’s Enya, Only Time