I’m sitting outside at the teak table, finishing my coffee, taking a break between errand runs. It’s overcast and chilly for July. I could use a sweater. But the slight chill feels good in an odd way. I’m watching the birds at the bird feeder: goldfinches, rose-breasted grosbeaks, purple finches, downy woodpeckers. They’re here in abundance this year. I hear the tiny chirp of the cardinal hidden in the branches nearby. It’s a strange call for such a beautiful bird. You would expect it to be as melodious as the feathers are colorful. There’s a nesting pair in the trees up on the bank. I look for the female. I prefer her delicate coloring to the bright plumage of her mate. The loud cawing of a crow startles the mourning doves out of their hiding place in the bushes. Their wings whistle as they dash to better cover in the dogwood tree.

The dogs are with me. Daisy lays at my feet, now and then giving out with that soft, Golden sigh as if she were a Shakeperean damsel saying “Ah me”. Maggie prowls the bank searching for chipmunks. I can spot the flash of her white fur in between the jungle of ferns. In awhile, she will tire of this futile pursuit and come lay beside me as well. But her head will stay up and her ears cocked for the slightest rustle of tiny feet. Then she’ll be up like a shot, disappearing into the dark greenery hoping this time, maybe this time.

I’ve left the TV on in the kitchen. Over my shoulder I can hear the muffled voices of the commentators as they narrate the movements of the Tour de France cyclists. It’s comforting in a way; reminding me of falling asleep as a child while the adults watched grown-up programs in the next room.

I need to get moving. I still have much to do today. But I need this right now, this gentle tonic for the spirit. Life seems particularly difficult lately. The world is full of stress, and anger and horror. It becomes so easy to believe that we are going down a path of darkness from which there is no return. The antidote is to stop, be quite and look with your heart at the glorious abundance of life and goodness that abides with us through it all. There is strenght and sustenance and renewal there. It is rooted in Love and cannot be destroyed. The angry and frightened of this world can bury it for a time; cover it in hate and blood and gore. But like the ferns I see before me that will shrivel and turn to dust as the days grow cold, yet return in season more full and lush then ever, this eternal Love will always triumph.


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