We've had a few very beautiful days this week and on one of them I took the chance to drive up to a little town on the river and sit on the covered patio of one of my favorite places for several hours. My mind had been running over and over some worries -- you know the kind, normal human worries. We all have them. The details might be different, but the substance is the same.
I'd told myself I was going to work -- do some writing. Plan a workshop series I'm offering this fall. Stuff like that. But what I really needed was to rest my mind. Enjoy some peace and a few hours of Sabbath.
I had a bag -- filled with work -- sitting on the chair next to me. And there the two of us sat for several hours... just like that... enjoying the breezes, the river running by, and the quiet buzz of others' conversation in the background.
After I'd been there a few hours, the most extraordinary thing happened. Actually, it was quite ordinary -- but as we all know, Life often takes what is ordinary and makes it extraordinary.
The relative calm and quiet was shattered by the insistent cries of a baby sparrow.
This baby was fledging and his parents were there, teaching him how to feed himself. How to eat beyond the nest. The parents were hopping around on the ground with the fledgling, picking up food and putting it into the baby's mouth, and all the while, the baby was crying out -- over and over, as if in a panic. This went on for quite some time. And then the parents stepped back as the baby picked something up off the ground, but as soon as he had it in his beak, it was as if he didn't know what to do with it and dropped it back on the ground.
You can imagine the angry, frustrated cries then -- they were loud and insistent and ongoing and persistent, and could not be ignored. They pulled at even the human heart.
The parents moved back in and once again picked the food up off the ground and put it in the fledgling's mouth. It seemed to me they were so patient and I was fascinated as I watched this exchange, which seemed to have a pattern of sorts -- leading, teaching, feeding, calming chirps meeting the panicked cries of the youngster.
On and on this went, until it became suddenly quiet.
I looked around and noticed that the three of them had flown off.
And I realized I was relaxed and laughing. Perhaps even laughing at myself.
It was one of Life's lovely and loving teaching moments.
When we realize that we need to be patient with ourselves, slow down, sink into the heart and get out of the head. And just breathe.
Some time later a soft breeze filled the air and I looked up and saw the fledgling sparrow sitting atop a fence over the courtyard where he'd previously been with his parents. They were down on the ground eating. He was looking up -- surveying the trees and the skies beyond. He seemed almost like a different bird -- there was a quiet confidence about him.
It was as if he was able to relax into this new phase in his life. Or at least to trust that when he needed it, help would be there.