Every late spring, I go to my basement and carry up my Clivia plants. I place them carefully at the base of the willow oak, where they brighten the scene from my windows for several weeks. They remain under the tree all summer and take in rain, a bit of sunshine, and grow new shoots. They give us stunning blossoms in spite of a whole winter of being nearly forgotten in a basement with low light.
After a long chilly winter, these flowers reassure me that there is still a cycle of growth that will always remain–even though we sometimes give it little attention. Life is present in the darkest places–just waiting to show itself once more as it was created to do. We just have to cooperate with nature and bring it up to the light.
Last week, we left our spot in the valley by the willow oak to see what was happening up in Shenandoah National park. We have been reading about the demise of songbirds due to loss of habitat here and in other countries, so I felt a need to connect with whatever beloved birds and other beauties remain–as well as to get some renewal and refocusing. I was not disappointed.
While I was sitting at our peaceful campsite, catbirds rustled in the bushes or observed us from low branches. A least flycatcher chirped overhead, and two rose-breasted grosbeaks flew right by us and lit on tree nearby, singing cheerily. A red admiral butterfly lit on the tablecloth beside me. A fussy robin tried to chase us away with close flyovers until she figured out we were not going to hurt her. Singing out of sight were wrens, redstarts, wood thrushes, vireos, towhees, and other warbling wonders. A bluebird surprised me by sitting on a small tree by the ladies toilet. Everything called out life! Life! Even the campers from all over the U.S. waved or called out cheery greetings. It was a place where differences of place, appearance and song did not matter, and variations only added interest.
I concluded that in making time for rest and stillness, evidences of the Divine show up all around, in this case, through songsters that make the world inhabitable. Thanks be to God for this reassurance.