This weekend was "The Great Backyard Bird Count." I pulled out my binoculars, bird book, and piece of paper to write down all the birds I saw.
I started watching birds at 11:00 a.m. The first minute or so, my mind swirling with busyness, I didn't know how long I would last. And then I started noticing the birds ... and my mind slowed down. "Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly feeds them" (Matthew 6:26, NRSV). These words from Jesus calmed my thoughts.
The Tufted Titmouse was the first bird I saw at the feeder. And then a Chickadee. These birds swooped in, grabbed a seed, and then flew back to a branch to eat it. A Robin was working her way through the berries on the cedar tree. In another cedar, a pair of Purple Finches were eating bugs from beneath the bark. House Finches, Goldfinches, Nuthatches, all took turns. And then the Red-bellied Woodpecker took over the feeder.
A Red-tailed Hawk flew into the yard and perched near the top of the tree to do some preening. The little birds took a break from the feeders until the hawk moved on.
I stopped watching at 11:30 a.m. Like the birds, I was grounded in the present moment. Grateful for birds and sky and binoculars; grateful to the Creator who made us all.
And -- it's not to late to count some birds ... the Bird Count goes through February 21.