I love nature. I relish being outside, and when I can’t, I enjoy being where I have a really good view. It’s one of the reasons I love my house so much, because not only does it sit in a beautiful rural setting, but it also has floor to ceiling windows all along the back so I can enjoy that setting when I’m inside, too.
Even though I have about a 50 minute (sometimes an hour with traffic) commute to Emmie’s house to watch the kids, I don’t really mind the drive because I’ve found a route that takes me on back-roads with beautiful countryside, and I often have a wonderful view of the sun rising as I drive. The rolling pastures filled with horses and cattle fly by my window and it’s very peaceful, that beautiful view of nature singing my heart’s song.
Yesterday, I began my journey east, making the turn onto the first country road, expecting the usual Black Angus herd to my left. I was rewarded with those black beauties, but just as I looked from them back to the road, a flock of birds took off en masse from the drainage ditch at the side of the road, and the fence line next to it. I slowed, looking up as they flew, seeing the red of their breasts as they soared away. I realized, with astonishment, that they were robins. Hundreds and hundreds of them. Sure I was seeing it wrong, I looked at the stragglers still pecking at the fence post and I had seen it right. Robins, plain as day.
I have never in all my life seen a huge flock of robins. I start to see the proverbial harbingers of spring in ones and twos, usually toward the beginning of March, but never by the hundreds, and certainly never in February. But I saw some more during the drive, a couple during the day at Emmie’s, and then, on the drive home, I saw some at the base of a budding – BUDDING – tree.
It’s been an incredibly mild winter for us, so I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised, but still I am. It’s as if God went the extra mile to announce to me that spring is coming, and I don’t just mean the physical reality of the spring season on earth. I think it was a personal announcement that my spring is coming, and the icy winter-of-the-soul under which I’ve allowed myself to be trapped is beginning to thaw.
He’s extravagant that way, our God. Relentless pursuer of our hearts, He knows the things that will get our attention, and shout, in His way, that He’s been here – He’ll always be here – and that His glorious abundance waits.
More glorious, even, than hundreds upon hundreds of red-breasted robins on the wing.
But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. ~ Job 12:7-10 ESV