Sunday, November 23, 2008

Birds in the Snow


Matthew and I spent Friday afternoon in the sewing room. I pieced a quilt top, and he played nearby. A gentle snow was falling: large fluffy snowflakes gradually covered the ground. Thankfully, there was no wind.

I noticed a few small sparrows land in the front yard and begin to eat, reaching through the soft snow cover to the ground below. Then, more landed. Within minutes, small birds were scattered across our entire front yard.

I called Wesley at the quilt store, and described the scene to him. I couldn't imagine what the birds could find to eat in our yard. He reminded me that he spread grass seed again a few weeks ago. This past summer, he coaxed a lawn to grow on our prairie hilltop, but there are still a few bare patches that he had to reseed.

"There's plenty more grass seed in the garage", he told me. "You can sprinkle some more out there for the birds."

I filled a paper cup with grass seed, and headed outside. The sound of the door opening startled the birds, and they quickly flew away, their grey feathers blending into the sky above.
Undeterred, I scattered the seed around the yard, noticing how cold it was outside. I felt bad about disrupting the little birds as they ate, and hoped they would return.

Sure enough, within minutes the flock was back. They feasted on the seed for quite a while, as snow gently fell to the ground. Some were close enough to my window that I could see each snowflake as it landed on their feathers.

Finally, the flock departed. I imagine they sought shelter in a nearby grove of trees or farm shed. Instinctively, they chose to find a good meal before snow completely covered the landscape, and I was happy they found their feast in our front yard.

With the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, this experience reminded me of our many blessings.
As I sat in our warm sewing room with Matthew and our two cats, watching the little birds outside the window, I was intensely grateful for our cozy home with its abundance of comforts. I thought of our pantry full of healthy food, and how we never doubt where our next meal will come from. I was appreciative of the love of family and friends, and reflected upon the serene beauty of our life here in North Dakota.

I shared a simple gift of a cup of grass seed with those little birds, and in return they gave me so much more.