The red-winged blackbirds are back. My bird book claims they stay the winter here in the Pacific Northwest, but they've been noticeably absent at the feeder and now they're noticeably back. "In the North, their early arrival and tumbling song are happy indications of the return of spring," it says, and I'm going with that.
Happy indications of the return of spring.
We know spring is returning, year after year, but somehow the happy indications of it give us hope again—as if it were dormant for months of winter cold and we had to dig it out ourselves. Because so much depends on our making it happen, right?
The fancy black bird with the swoosh of red and slash of yellow is louder than the winter birds that peck at the seeds. He is showy and even obnoxious. We could still get snow in February, I remind him. Don't be so cocky with your happy indications.
The green heads of tulips and daffodils are poking through, too, though the ones I put in the new flower bed are coming up tattered and scattered and random, thanks to a certain dog who knew better and her boy who replanted them, best he could.
There's always something coming against my best efforts, and some happy indications only remind me that, even with spring coming, nothing I work for is perfect. Often, the assumptions I make about the results of my work are just all wrong. I've been accused of making a lot of false assumptions lately and I guess it's the correction I was asking for.
This time of year, with happy indications dueling against intermittent storms and misplaced bulbs, I have to search out promises in word and nature and song that will bring me back to a settled truth; otherwise, my internal-self becomes psychotic with longings for snow days alongside hopes for spring and an unsettled need for something always different than what is.
I'm happy to live with seasons, happy God thought of spring and summer and fall and even winter. I'm happy for change and I like things consistent, so consistently changing seasons seems like the best fit.
Good things come. I have no choice but to wait and no waiting comes up empty.
I'm blessed to be given a gift that I can give away again (all our gifts should be this way), and I only wish I could give one to everyone who entered. But my extra copy of Roots and Sky goes to: Ellen Price. And the rest of you can order it here.
A friend asked about skipping ahead to the spring section of Christie's book, because it seemed hard for her brain to endure an August start (Roots and Sky begins its journey in the month of August).
I told her to start with August because she'd miss too much; the treasure of spring is sometimes just simply the wait.