Monday, April 16, 2018

On Perspective - The Value of Sparrows

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?
 and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Matthew 10:29

Snow covers the ground, here so early on a late Spring morning.  The neighborhood is quiet, no one leaving for work quite yet, no tracks in the snow, but for an early morning taxi, one of the neighbors likely headed to O'Hare.

You think the snow is done for the year with May halfway here.  Then two weeks later, there it is again.  There's a lot of life like that.  You get through one big adventure, thinking, that will be the best one yet, only to have another, even better down the road.  Or you suffer hardship and loss and think "that's it, Lord, I can't handle any more of this" only to have your words catch in your throat with the tears as life swats at you with its clawed paw yet again. Then there are the moments when danger is all around, and you are pretty sure you are already dead but pretend to be alive for those around you who do not see that you are only a pile of ashes and dust, only to fly past the red line into the rising sun as your co-pilot states "Well Skipper, THAT was hardly "light turbulence" was it?" and you both laugh. I miss the flying, I don't miss the nights in hotels in beds that were never soft enough, or warm enough, yet are always big enough to remind you that you are alone.
Out in the driveway sits an 11-year-old Truck.  A lot of people ask why I don't buy a new one.   I can afford it, yet I don't see the point in making a car payment when I have wheels that get me where I want to go, with just enough rust, that carjackers look on it with derision. But good, gently used trucks are hard to find in Chicago, where the salt takes its toll, on anyone not willing to wait at the car wash every single week and the potholes often have their own potholes.  My truck has been mostly garaged since purchasing from a dealer well south of here, and overall I'd have a hard time finding one as reliable.

Plus nothing says "Yield" like a redhead woman driving a giant black extended cab  4 x 4  with Browning and American flag stickers on the back window in Chicagoland traffic.

It's going to get some use this week.  As you already know, my husband, "Partner in Grime", got in an accident at a notoriously bad corner in our village last week  No one was hurt, and no one was cited, it is a blind spot that has claimed more than one fender.  But the local auto repair place is backed up and it will be a week or so until it is done.
I guess I'll be teleworking or taking some leave so he has wheels to go to work.  Best laid plans of mice and men, they say but it beats paying for a rental car.

When bad things happen, how we survive them is really how we look at it  Some people look at every slight, every setback as if looking into a dark forest that is more than gloom but an actual menacing hostility. With the slightest rustle, they are ready to scream, in fear or for help.  I look into the forest and see, sometimes, danger, sometimes challenges, but ultimately a silent journey that will have me leave it for the next clearing, stronger, with a better-defined purpose of what the plan is for my life.  In such moments, you don't look down at the scars, but simply embrace the joy that comes with both reckoning and recognition of finding your path.
The snow is being replaced by sleet now.  If I'm going to go get some more seed and food out for the critters now would be the time.  No matter the weather, when it's winter and the ground is frozen, they know I will come. They don't see me when I'm inside, they don't know from where I came, they just know I am a presence that will tend to them, even if it's burying a still form out in the garden when time catches up with them. For just as sparrows do not worry they also do fall to the ground.

As I went out, the stillness was the first thing I sensed, then the brilliance of the ice that had struck the ground, only to hold on fast for dear life, lest warming come.  It shone with a brilliance that is newly blown glass as if the slightest shift in the air would shatter it to pieces.  Above it the sudden glint of the sun through the clouds, there for that moment as if enchanted into staying by the mysterious spell that is a snow-swept landscape. Some people don't like the cold brightness of snow, seeing it as cold brutality as opposed to a cleansing brightness.  I love the snow, yet I understand how others view it, knowing too well the peace that a warm night can bring to a day weary soul.
From the nearest tree, a squirrel peers from the branches.  I don't get too close, as rabies in the species is common but there are a couple of the older red squirrels that are so used to me, they will come out of the shadows and greet me when they hear the rustle of the peanut bag. They're not pets, they are wild things, even if I've named a few that live among our 100-year-old Spruces, including Bubba the world's fattest Robin, who I can't see, though he is likely nearby. Such is the nature of wild things and wild dreams, which when viewed, summon our wish for constancy, but when out of sight, seems so elusive and illusionary, they appear less like dreams and more like ghosts that now live in another dimension.
I scatter some peanuts and some sunflower seeds, making sure the feeders and suet corral are full and return to the house.  In my wake, small winged forms hop happily into the bounty even as I shut the door to the house as the wind blows the snow into intricate patterns like some ancient hieroglyph that only God can read.

Then, it was time for one last errand, before I handed over my keys for the week.  The sirens were the first things I heard beyond the scrape of a snow plow and the honk of a horn as cars positioned for first place on a street slick with sleet.  Up ahead, a cluster of red and blue lights and an ambulance that was waiting too far away from the actual crash to bring thoughts of comfort.  First responders were tending to the uninjured, standing on the sidewalk, while the roof was cut off from what used to be a small car to extract the soul that had been there.
There was no going forward, there was no turning around, at least yet.  I could only sit and watch the scene thinking of time, of forest creatures and blazing suns, pondering actions and dreams, the sound of tears and the wet warmth of laughter, and the bright red agony that is a loss beyond control. I see the faces of those that for at least for a little while I have outlived, and I touch a coat on the seat that still bears the woodsy scent of that last person who wore it.

As I turned and headed back home, the errand being one I could put off for a couple of days, I realized that I had no reason to grumble that I have to share my vehicle or any costs out of pocket for the repair.  Partner had only a crumbled fender as a result of his lousy morning last week, and fenders can be fixed. I looked up to the sun, now in hiding, and said a quiet thanks to He who watches over, not just the birds of his field, but his fledgling, forgiven children. - L.B. Johnson


  1. hari OM
    I add my amen to that. YAM xx

  2. Beautiful post! We're thankful your partner in grime is OK!
    Cam and Mags

    1. Me too, cars can be fixed, people not always.

  3. Blessings for the wild animals you feed,
    and that your hubby is safe after a fender bender.
    xo Astro

    1. I probably spend more on critter food than shoes and purses, but it is the highpoint of my pre-coffee mornings.

  4. Can we add an additional Amen? Bautiful post.

    Woos - Lightning, Misty, and Timber

    1. Thank you. I'm going to start Book #5 in the fall, so it helps to warm up a bit. Dog posts are fun though, and I've thoroughly enjoyed posting here these last few years, and all the friends we've made.

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you. I still show up at book signings feeling like a little kid playing author. I think it really hit home when I got on a plane and someone in first class was reading one of my books.


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