I follow the wishes of birds.
I hear them calling to me in the morning, to bring out seeds, cracked corn, suet, when the low sun spills its amber across the blue-shadowed snow.
Giving to them is a gift to me. Always, they touch my heart with their joyful presence. I watch their thrilling flights from branch to feeder. Recognize the life in them—their bright eyes, quick flutters, down fluffed against the cold, foraging to survive as does every living thing on this earth.
When you look at any being with eyes of love, you witness its divinity, its personhood.
You recognize the animating sacred spark of life you share. You feel akin. Then you want to help.
So you bring seeds.
It helps each of us to survive winter.
Before dawn, in spring, the lone voice of the cardinal singing out in darkness means everything to me.
How can this one song pierce my heart so with joy and sorrow? I lie awake and listen.
While he sings, the whole of my life feels held within that song, beginning with the most precious gift we are given: the sweetness of being, of life throbbing through us, in oneness with the cardinal and every other being. Because this loneliness, this sense of separation is an illusion, say spiritual masters, philosophers, quantum physicists.
Coming out of my dreams, wakened by by this heartbreaking beauty, every sadness floods through me, every happiness, what feels like the deepest measure of my existence as a living being in this world.
Sorrow sweeps out your house so that new joy can find space to enter, said Rumi. As they beguile open our sleeping hearts and call forth joy and sorrow, singing to us of how ephemeral yet eternal life is, the birds bring us even more gifts: To weep is a gift. To love, a gift. To sorrow, a gift.
Seeds. Also a gift. But perhaps a small one, considering what wonder has been received.