After an early spring, and then a return to harsh winter, then back to almost summer, we still have devastated trees in our yard. Perhaps the most painful sight for me is my tall flowering pear, which I planted as a twig eight years ago. The white blossoms were breathtaking this year, then a sudden drop into winter blasted the little pears just as they began to appear. It looks dead, much like the fig tree that Jesus cursed, because it didn't bear fruit. (I've always felt sorry for that fig tree.) This was different, however, the trees bore too soon, and now they look like death.
Soon we will have rain, and the rain will replenish the earth. Renewal will come, as will new healthy leaves. There will be no fruit this year, making it harder on the birds of the air that visit my yard. All are welcome to my feeders and bird bath -- the beautiful as well as the unlovely. All are invited to the feast -- the starlings, the grackles, the cowbirds, and the crows, as well as the robins, the cardinals, the sparrows, the blue jays, the hummers, the blue birds, and the rose breasted grosbeaks. My yard does not discriminate, for each is precious to me.
Because of that sharp return to winter, natural foods in the wild are scarce, so we have been blessed with the loveliest of visitors. Yesterday, I had a close encounter with a pink-breasted house finch. No fear was in this little bird's heart. He saw that I hurried to fill the empty feeder, and he awaited me. Then he popped into the feeder, not three feet from me. I spoke to him, and he was not startled. Busy at his meal, he allowed me to clamor around in my effort to fill the next feeder, spilling seed, and dropping covers. It warmed my soul. He didn't stir, as I moved on to the bird bath, in fact he met me there. Even as I struggled with the water hose, he stayed and cocked his head at me.
"Would you like a cold shower?" I asked. He seemed to nod yes; so ever so lightly I turned on the spray, sprinkling the water. He dipped down to drink, so I moved the nozzle and gently sprayed over him. His wings flapped with pure joy, as he washed his feathers, then he flew to a nearby limb, so that I could empty and refill the humble bird bath.
That encounter was unasked for, yet freely given, and even now, it brings tears to my eyes. So, little birds, the unlovely with the lovely; come to my yard, one and all, and feast. Perhaps it is I who need you, more than you need me.