I looked out from the computer and saw a big black bird of prey circling overhead. There are always so many birds visible from our home. Earlier we saw both a male and female bluebird out front. Cardinals and goldfinches regularly alight at our feeder. A woodpecker with little red tufts pecks at our aging birch. Afternoons like these are envious ones in pandemic. As I see them soar to the skies. I’ve never understood where they really go. Their nests are most often invisible. I’ve wondered where they tuck away before they forage and take flight. They make their varied nests of mud, and of sticks, of trash or their own feathers.
The bird of prey feels ominous. I later log on and see the news that my county’s schools will have virtual learning at least until January. There was already a lot swirling about hybrid learning models and uncertainty. No doubt the latest increase in COVID-19 cases in the state and country are the driving factors as school admins try to weigh all the countless factors involved in keeping kids, teachers, and school workers safe.
In addition to understanding why they have made this decision–I am also flattened. After four months home, I can’t quite process how it is that we will take our seemingly impossible steps into the months to come. Yet, we will like the millions of parents. And what of the families that will struggle mightily for access? We recognize the lucky places of our journey. I also recognize a weariness in my eyes that doesn’t go away. Where do the birds go before the earliness of the morning calls them forward, before their little ones cheap their hunger for food, instruction, and love?
Wednesday we went over to the Sacred Garden at the Church and chalked a whole flock of feathery friends. This post is for you if you, too, have had a flightless stretch of days imagining into the unknowns of the time ahead. Perhaps you also hold anger, looking around and wishing that all were being addressed in this country with more compassion, scientific trust, and collaboration. For the sake of our children. For the sake of everyone. Thank you, Mary Oliver, for words that soar with hope into a day yet to come.
Pastor | Kittamaqundi Community Church | Columbia, Maryland