songbirds

It can be hard to figure out what to write in this space some days. I’m not always a thinker of deep thoughts, a studious philosopher-type.

Some days I just take long walks with the wind a little too cold on my ears and the stroller bumping against my palms and I look for reasons to be grateful. These days the reasons come in the form of songbirds. They sing brazenly from the tops of pines, invisible but vibrantly present. They warm me to my core, ears and all, somehow. I think maybe it’s not even just the birds; maybe it’s the reminder that the long migration of winter will end.

I hear the songbirds and I think of blooming crabapple trees, of smelly Bradford Pears that look like white mist. I think of flowers; some bloom in orderly beds and some grow riotously beyond their own borders and some just pop up wild, like the pink wild roses in tangled hedges at camp. I think of sunshine that feels warm on bare skin. I think of the hours we spend with friends, finally outside again after months of playing indoors, meeting in coffee shops or bundling up for short walks to the park.

Summer feels like freedom until it’s here and then it brings the same regularity of discipline and cultivated habits that I’ve had all year. It’s a strange life to see summers as free time all our growing up years until one day we’re grown up and summers are still work time. But in the middle of the work time that used to be free, I realize again and again that moments of free-heartedness never really left. Because there were songbirds singing here in the middle of winter.

There are belly-laughs in the longest days of parenting. There are breakthroughs in the most drudging hours of writing. The sun breaks through the sky for a sunset glow on the gloomiest cloudy days. There’s always something.

So hang in there. Raise your eyes above the snow drifts and look at the wild blue sky. Even on the darkest night, the stars are still shining above the clouds. Remember the songbirds, because they remember you.

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