Finding the Thing With Feathers

Meditations in MotionI was sitting on the steps of my deck yesterday, absently looking at the little woodlot beyond my back yard and searching for some hope.

I was feeling sorry for myself, down in the dumps and missing my family, trying desperately to give myself a kick in the pants by mentally listing the many, many blessings in my life.

It was a warm, sunny April afternoon and I was not having much luck in the cheering-myself-up department.

Here is the thing about feeling sad: you know you are the lucky recipient of so much unwarranted grace, you understand you are loved, you can see how very fortunate you are, but for some reason, all of the good things in your life are crowded to the spare edges of your psyche and the negatives take up a lot of space right at the center.

Then I saw a gray catbird and the bubble of despair popped and hope rushed in.

Meditations in MotionThis catbird streaked from the woodlot and disappeared into a huge rhododendron next to the garage. He carried a piece of dried grass in his mouth, building a nest.

I will get to watch him and his mate raise their family, something I look forward to with much anticipatory joy. Raising a family, after all, takes courage and faith in the future.

A catbird is visually unremarkable at first glance. They are, as their name says, gray. But there is something in their demeanor I love; they are so jaunty, so sassy, so…bold.

They remind me of hope.

One of my favorite poems, written by Emily Dickinson, begins like this:

β€œHope is the thing with feathers,
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops – at all,

It’s those last two words that get me every time. Every. Time. They cause the mist in my eyes and a catch in my throat. “At all.

No, hope never stops.

Not for a year, not for a season, not for a second.

Not even in the midst of a pandemic.

I saw the thing with feathers.

What is it that gives you hope these days?

 

You can find the places I link up here.

 

 

 

63 comments

  1. God really is present with us through His creation in this pandemic isn’t He Laurie!
    I too have been delighting in the beauty & hope of His creation… which just keep on keeping on!
    Sending blessings to you this Easter,
    Jennifer

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Spring gives me hope. Seeing all the flowers and trees bloom.
    Hearing the squeals of laughter of two children playing outside.
    Seeing my neighbours chatting with each other but keeping their physical distance.
    Reading all the stories of how people show love in times like these. They usually make me cry happy tears.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There is still hope, and love and grace beyond measure. I believe we will come out of this time more appreciative of the little things we take for granted, the love of those around us and the hope that is eternal. During this time when so much has been taken away we can appreciate those things we have been freely given. Great story of hope and its also nice that you know where to look when the nest becomes active.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know, in general I’m an optimistic person, although of course I have my moments. In fact, I said to Mr. Judy on a walk recently that it must really suck for a curmudgeon to live with an optimist. πŸ™‚

    I guess for me, it takes as much energy to feel hope than to feel sad, and feeling hopeful just feels better.

    Of course, so far, knock on wood, I haven’t been personally effected. I know people who have been, I know that that can change on a dime, but for now, I’m optimistic. Nothing lasts forever!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The theme for this week’s Uncanceled Project run was ‘hope’. I headed out for my run, trying to shake off the negativity and look for signs of hope. Running on the trails brought lots of signs of spring and really lifted my spiritis. Yes, this will come to an end.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right. This will come to an end. I did the 5K this week for the uncanceled Project. I never made the connection between the race and my post! πŸ™‚

      Like

  6. I needed to read those words this morning. My sister is battling stage 4 colon cancer. It’s in her sacrum and hip bones at this point. She’s in quite a bit of pain and is a 3 hour drive away in the next state. My hope is for her. I was thinking that a nice thing about being home is that our lives have quieted down enough to really have the time to enjoy watching a bird build a nest and raise a family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I am so sorry to read about your sister. Good thoughts and prayers go out to her and to you! I will hope for her too. Yes, our lives are much quieter now. That is one blessing this crisis has brought.

      Like

  7. Perfect reminders for any day and we needed it everyday. I love how God uses something different with all of us to bring that hope that gets buried underneath the me thinking instead of Him thinking. A little gray bird and he has no idea how much he lifted your spirits but our Lord does. all of His creation shout, hey I am here, hope is never gone, I’ve got more gray birds and blue ones, and red ones and brown ones, etc. Love this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh I love that photo of the catbird and I’m so glad watching him helped cheer you up and give you hope. I love those lines you quoted – I’ve never read that poem so had to look it up and it is beautiful and perfect for time like these. I find watching the birds in the garden and listening to them sing soothes my soul too. Yes, hope is indeed the thing with feathers. #WotW

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad you liked the poem, Louise. It’s one of my favorites. My moods go up and down these days, as I am sure you can imagine. Birds have always been soothing to me too.

      Like

  9. That’s a beautiful post Laurie, very inspiring and that has always been a favorite poem of mine as well. Nature will go on, birds will sing, and raise their young in an endless cycle and we have to be content to watch and be patient – patience is difficult at this time. That’s why I had to return to walking, despite my worries … it will keep me grounded like nothing else will.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Linda. You are so right – we do have to be patient. Patience is never my strong suit and it is especially difficult now! I am glad to read you returned to your walking. Getting out and moving helps keep us sane!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Patience is not my strong suit either Laurie. I have just spent over 3 hours on a long post, the Easter post, and the block editor was fraught with issues and now it has not published in Reader.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have not used the block editor yet. I will learn to use it when I have to but so many bloggers have had trouble with it that I am holding off as long as possible!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I wish I had never started using it either Laurie – I decided to do it as we were SUPPOSED to be transitioning to Windows 10 at work, plus new accounting software … that was scheduled to happen last April. So I decided I didn’t want to have to learn the block editor too as I thought they were forcing it on us in the short term. Meanwhile, our computer guy has not set up Windows 10 to this date. I have the new laptop but nowhere to plug it in at a table so I’m still using Windows 7 for work and everything else. I could have spared myself a year of angst! I never had issues of posts not going to Reader before.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I know – I didn’t hear from them today – they are likely afraid to e-mail me as I kept saying “yes, you can see it at your end; I can’t at my end!” I did not use capital letters though. πŸ™‚ I scheduled a post for Wednesday morning – we’ll see how that plays out.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I heard from them again today and I went back in and edited my post for tomorrow because they suggested that just before publishing it I should make it a draft again, then press publish (whether it was going out immediately or later). They sent me a video – I am hopeful.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It posted correctly this morning Laurie – they sent me info and a video and I admitted to them that it might be user error – if I adjusted the posting time AFTER I originally drafted the post and scheduled it for publishing, I did not return it to “draft” status before pressing “publish” so WP thinks that is the problem. I have another post coming out tomorrow morning and I did today’s and that one the way they suggested. I hope that was the reason. I was following directions from Hugh’s News and Views (a blogger who troubleshoots the block editor).

        I love this picnic table – what a cute idea! Too bad he does not live around here. Sounds like all his neighbors are benefiting from this cute idea. It would be funny if he ends up making this his livelihood if his real job slows down due to the C-virus. Thank you for sending this to me – yes, a kindred spirit!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I read Hugh’s blog. He gives some great blogging tips and he seems much more tech-savvy than I am. I am glad the problem seems to be solved. I will keep my fingers crossed for you, Linda. Straightening out tech issues is so frustrating and time-consuming. I was hoping you would enjoy the squirrel picnic table idea! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I’ve followed him for a while too Laurie and he is way over my head for a lot of things – his blog is much bigger than mine – many sections. I’ve kept the same simple theme and don’t plan to change it unless forced to do so, but he was writing a series of posts on the Block Editor and said when you start a post, always pick a date in the future right away, in case you get harried and press “publish” instead of “preview” – so that was my mistake basically. I did enjoy this guy’s handiwork. I am using a little mesh basket out the front near a bush and set it on a short shelving unit like you put in your kitchen cupboards. They can stand and peek in and pull out a peanut but they usually climb up and sit right in the basket (poor manners!) πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • I saved some of his posts on the block editor in preparation for switching over to it. I am in complete denial right now, thinking maybe the sun will blow up before I have to switch to the block editor! πŸ™‚ Your peanut dispenser sounds so cool! You should patent it! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s how I feel about Windows 10 and our new accounting program – we WERE supposed to go to Windows 10 and a new accounting software program last April – so I got a jump on the block editor so I didn’t have to much going on at one time. Still haven’t gone to Windows 10 as of this writing. Hugh is thorough – I thought he explained it well, but they have changed/updated/tweaked recently, so this was in Reader a few weeks ago about the changes:
        This was the link about the new features to tuck away as well – I resist change mightily: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/25823/posts/2639997805

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Laurie, it is amazing how seeing the little things in our yard have sparked hope. So grateful for the way God lifts our spirits. May you have a blessed Easter!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have found so much hope in seeing all the good that has come from this…more at-home family time, being a big one. I think it’s gotten most of us to realize how much we really miss our friends, and hopefully will be less likely to take one another for granted after this ends. Honestly, I have seen far more good than bad…but I tend to see the glass half full by default πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right, Kim. I hope we keep some of the habits we are forming now as a result of the crisis. Glass half full is a good way to see the world! πŸ™‚

      Like

  12. It’s inevitable to have down moments in all this. But good for you in looking for the thing to cheer you up, and so glad it came your way! I’m hoping to hear about the catbird family as the year progresses πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I wish I had read this yesterday when I was in the middle of a pity party – I woke up with pain like I had in January (even after all of my PT – I have figured out what caused it and am hopeful it’s a very temporary setback). My husband and I saw a little finch on the azaleas behind our deck, but I was almost too grumpy to see the beauty in him. Thank you for some perspective…

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have really had a lot of trouble with injuries! I hope by now you are feeling better. We are all allowed a pity party once in a while. Then we give ourselves a good kick in the butt and move on. Hope your Easter was a good one! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s