Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Celebrate Life by Jaye Lewis

We’ve lived in our Virginia home for twelve years. It was our dream home when we retired from the Navy, and it still is. It’s cool in summer, and it’s warm in winter. From my deck I can see the mountains all around me. And the sunsets are a glorious celebration of what this world can be. In hushed wonder, I watch the sky turn from rose, to gold, and red. One evening I even caught the images of the heavens on fire. Even the birds were quiet, as though they too were moved by God’s gift to each of us.

Every morning of my life is another celebration of movement and color, as birds from all around flock to my deck for safety, water, and food. Each creature, from the most drab to the most colorful, fills my day with such joy. Even the starlings, who gobble up the suet with glutinous glee, have a place in my heart. In mid-winter, they move themselves in, along with all their relatives, and hog the feeders until the following spring. As soon as the earth begins to warm, they poke their beaks greedily into the earth to eradicate every grub they can find. Because of their ingenuity, army worms no longer march, and web worms build their webs, and suddenly spin no more. This gardener is grateful for the assistance of these unlovely birds.

While most birds shed their colorful feathers, and put on a dull winter coat, so that they are less noticeable against the snow, the cardinal stands out in a brilliant Christmas red. No wonder they are celebrated on clothing, artwork, and greeting cards all season long. After twelve years of certainty that the restaurant is always open at our house, we’ve seen descendants of every bird species gather on our deck. We’ve cared for early and late nestlings, providing every kind of food they need. Even the hummingbirds come here to drink their fill at our nectar rich feeders, all summer long. Birders who study these things tell us that hummingbirds return year after year to the same garden, and often to the same branch of the tree on which they were hatched.

Each spring, my garden reflects the beauty of the sky and birds. Each flower arrays itself in brilliant color. I’m amazed that anyone can see such magnificence and believe that all these gifts are merely an accident. No God, they say, could provide such beauty, nor would He. And I say, they are liars, because the person who beholds such heart and soul, without feeling, must have no soul at all. And it is then that I think, perhaps their ancestors did, after all, climb out of a primordial goop. But mine were created and placed in a garden, where the Creator of the Universe breathed within them, the breath of life.

So, I will celebrate my life, in shades of red, and green, and blue, and gold. I will be thankful for each feather and flower and sunset – a cacophony of sight and sound, sent by God, so that I may fill my life with pure joy.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

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