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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Abundance (06/08/06)

TITLE: Life in Abundance (ii)
By Debbie Wistrom


The first day of summer is just a few sunrises away. Spring has been here even though it brought some unseasonably high temperatures. However, the last couple of days have been mild enough to open the windows again. So much more than fresh air gets into the house on a quiet morning as I get ready for work or on a Sunday afternoon as I try to take a nap.

The robins that are the harbinger that spring is finally here have been busy raising a family in the maple tree in our back yard. The nest built last season is empty. Effort went into building a new one, more secluded and higher in the maple. Though I never saw the bright blue eggshells, two speckled bellied babies have been seen bopping around the moist garden soil with a parent close at hand. Lessons on what that sprinkler means and what those pesky stray cats are about are ongoing.

With the open windows I notice a difference this year: arguing going on between the two adults robins. More than once I have witnessed what seems to be a power struggle. Not sure if it is the male or female doing most of the fussing, I can only make up stories in my mind as to what the problem is. The continuous high pitched chirping has been unsettling as most of the time I enjoy nothing more than watching my favorite bird cavort around the yard. After a couple weeks of this cacophony, the morning sounds have been replaced with silence. Finally. This makes me think that the babies have gotten big enough to be on their own. One adult robin was hopping around the yard. At one point it was as if we had made eye contact through the kitchen window. She kept bounding toward the house, while seemingly looking at me.

In her book, Writing Toward Home, Georgia Heard shares one of Matthew Fox’s commandments on writing: “Thou shalt fall in love three times a day.” I did fall in love with this red-breasted backyard lodger. I wanted to go out and turn over a brick, so the picking would be a bit easier that day. Now that the kids were grown she could have a morning to herself. Would God turn over a brick for me today? Sure, I just have to look for the worms.

On Sunday afternoon last, my nap was disrupted by a commotion in the backyard. One very upset blue jay had spent the last two hours caterwauling like a baby. I got up to see what was so important. Looking out the kitchen window, I saw this concerned creature hopping around on the picnic table, fluttering to the fence and back and to the propane tank and back. This is not a normal activity for the bully of the backyard. Another look revealed the cause of this disturbance. One of the neighborhood stray cats was lounging at the edge of the tall grass, evidence that baby blue jays close at hand.

On a more peaceful note, a pair of white doves has been seen from our back porch in the evenings. The nest remains a secret. When I first saw them, I thought it was my imagination. Then my husband said he had seen them during the day. We have plenty gray mourning doves; even a couple young ones have found the seclusion of my perennial flowerbed a safe haven.

In another display of God’s abundance is the show going on across the alley. After it rains a puddle that I can’t see forms in a valley on the flat porch roof. I know when it is there because it is visited in the evenings by the black birds. So much pleasure they get in the simple act of splashing water on themselves and then flying to the nearest telephone wire to puff up and dry out. With a feeling of thanksgiving, I could stand for hours and watch this. Recognizing the blessing that my mind and heart can see what God has put in my vision.

Our backyards can be teeming with the gifts of God, if we but just open our hearts, minds and eyes to what he wants to share with us. When I see all this activity that is untouched by stress, I think of the scripture from Matthew 10:31. “Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more a value than many sparrows.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ross06/19/06
Having just moved out of the busy city into the country, I could literally "hear" the chatter of these little creatures kept in God's gentle care. Your discriptiveness paints very colorful pictures and is easy to follow. Nice piece ~ I thoroughly enjoyed it! :)
dub W06/19/06
Very peaceful and pleasant work. A couple of grammar issues - run ons and so forth, but a good effort and an enjoyable read.
Lynda Schultz 06/21/06
What an interesting take on the theme. Many of us "see" all these neighbours everyday, but never really "see" them as evidence of God's bounty or of that wonderful verse of scripture that you quoted. Good job.