My sister assured me on Facebook today: You DO live in a "Nature Lover's Paradise"...you really DO!
My husband and I often joke at how our home was advertised before we purchased it. The house itself has been more of a "money pit" than a paradise. But it's peaceful here. We have great neighbors. And our location is the happening hang-out for wild-life.
Two summers ago a black bear attacked our garbage can, leaving paw prints like half-moons in punched metal. He hugged a tree in the backyard until my brave husband, brandishing a flash light, scared him away.
This weekend, shortly after Hubby removed the winter pool cover, two Canadian Geese and their four goslings arrived for an afternoon swim. This time Hubby armed himself with the pool skimmer and had to scoop up one of the babies who couldn't quite make it to dry ground. (See the family picture below.)
Today, as my beloved and I were keeping time on the swing--me with my feet bare and he skin-damp from mowing grass--a Robin swooped and landed in the leafy green above, then began to whistle a rollicking melody. Odd. I never knew a Robin to serenade like this, but there was his Robin-red breast for all to see.
He hopped with spindly legs to another branch, still tweeting, and revealing his true colors--a stark contrast of whites and blacks.
I was intrigued by the oddity of this "Robin," his strange plumage and mellow sound. When have I last taken notice of a Robin up close? Perhaps in the first days of spring with the brownish-gray blur of a female winging by, dropping grass and mud and twigs all across the porches as she stubbornly attempted to build a nest on our beams. Or maybe in the early morning still wet with rain as she played tug-of-war with an earth-worm, needing nourishment for her babes.
It was almost summer now. The chicks were chirping, and the parents, still haggardly searching for food. Their presence had become commonplace and camouflaged--their nests hidden in shrubs, NOT on the beams. Their dull gray presence had blended into the background of bark and twigs and trees. In a whirl of bold color and lush green they became "the least of these."
Robins are one of the things in life I look at frequently, but rarely see.
Could this be some kind of an albino Robin?
A flash of brilliant red and a bright whistle drew my gaze again to our feathered friend. Though I need reading glasses to make sense of fine print, I peered wide-eyed into the branches and easily saw the beauty of a creature I have never seen or heard before. (At least to my knowledge.)
I watched and listened and allowed the glory of a bird to touch my soul.
He invited me to wonder. And ponder how God speaks everyday in the tongues of men and angels and...other exotic creatures. Even ordinary Robins. Some days He paints a rainbow across the sky to remind us of His promises. He kisses us good-night with a glitter of lightning bugs at sunset. And sometimes just because, He sends love-notes wrapped in feathers, and dances joy over the child-like heart who reads them.
When I was a young girl, another set of eyes, older and wiser, showed me the way, eyes that reflected the blue of sky, the love of God and the grace-full life that was my grandmother. She was my best friend and a nature lover. I sat with her many evenings on a swing, swaying to the easy, peaceful rhythm of country summer, drinking sweet tea and beholding--taking notice and celebrating life around us.
Someday I hope to do this with my own grandchildren, those yet to come who will carry the legacy of seeking and seeing and swinging. I hope to impart the same love she gave me--for life and the Life-giver, for those not always seen.
With the bright sound of the Grosbeak-not-a-Robin piercing through the gray of day, I heard my grandmother's lilting melody. Part of her is planted and springing to life in me. It's the serenade of a Nature Lover, keeping time with the rhythms of heaven, whistling to get our attention and wooing with the colors of love. The Creator makes a bold display of His feathers and then hovers over us with the same--as a hen broods over her chicks, all because He loves us.
All because He IS Love.
And all because He knows, if we see and hear and know Him, we will love Him too.
Today a Rose-breasted Grosbeak sang his song and then flew away. But Jesus invites us everyday to be with Him where He is, to see the glory His Father gave Him. To be there, to be here, to be with Him wherever He is, is Paradise.
Yes, I DO live in a Nature Lover's Paradise! I really do!
Photo Credit (Grossbeak): Whitevale Wonder - flickr