I could not see the pert head, cocked just a bit to one side, eye to the ground in search of…what? The tell-tale movement of a hapless insect? It’s hard to believe anything could be moving out there, frigid as its been, but then again, those bluebirds are eating something or they wouldn’t be hanging around. (Oh, God let it be a stinkbug…they seem to be endlessly available.)
I didn’t have to see his brilliant blue shoulders or rosy breast to know it was "him!"
I would know that “tu-a-wee” anywhere, floating in like a butterfly, an afterthought, a grace note.
Yes. A grace note. And what did I need more than that?
Their call, even the word “bluebird” stirs memories of Dad tap-tap-tapping another nest box into existence. He created dozens and sold them or gave them away to anyone who had any interest and who had what he considered “good habitat”- open fields, fences and posts for vantage points, a few trees, but not too many. His farmer friends all had bluebird boxes by “Marty.”
And Mom was just as bluebird crazy as he was. Worm-averse though she was, - and thrifty too- she paid good money for dehydrated meal WORMS! (“For the bluebirds,” she would say softly, as if that explained everything.)
In my mind’s eye, somewhat misted by now, I can see my flannel shirted dad in the driveway in his bedroom slippers, whistling his own distinct call to let the bluebirds know he was putting worms in the feeder he’d built especially for that purpose. Soon, he could simply whistle, (I’ve always wondered if the birds knew it as the "plaid-man-call!") and a bluebird would fly to the tip of the garage roof and wait for dinner to be served.
Good memories, bluebird memories.
and some practice with my in house “experts,”
and a lot of listening.
What grace notes are you training your ears to hear in your life?
Beyond the birds, I mean. It’s important to become familiar with the Voice that you want to be attuned to hear. Many days, life seems to be one mundane task after the another. It’s dark on the porch, and most of us are carrying some garbage.
I don’t often catch a glimpse of the Presence…being invisible has its disadvantages for the rest of us. But I’m learning to listen, learning to recognize that Voice whispering in my ear, “This way. Not that way.” It’s not always a deeply spiritual revelation; that voice has spoken many practical words in my ear. Like yogurt, which you can read more about here. Or recently – "make chicken noodle soup."
Frequently the voice just says, “Wait.” Or “Pause.”
Or even, just this morning, “Breathe.”
It’s not that more is being said than before, it’s that I’m learning to pause in the noise of life and listen for those whispers.
when the sun rises full of promise
and my valley goes to pink-orange spectacular for a few minutes,
if I’m in the right place,
I see a silhouette,
and I hear “tu-a-wee,”
and every grace note is another reason for gratitude.