“Hope” is the thing with feathers – (314)
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
We have been fortunate here lately to have some atypically warm days. I think it has been good for everyone’s spirit given that our one snow was in January, and we’ve all grown weary with the weather roller coaster of February.
When I arrived at work earlier this week, I sat in my car for a few minutes and lifted up a prayer. I started that practice many years ago when I was struggling with a former employer. I’d stop every morning at a gas station around the corner from work and lift up a prayer to center myself before heading into the challenging environment knowns as my job.
Anyway, as I lifted up my prayer on Tuesday, I was interrupted by the most lovely birdsong. I looked out the windows but did not see any fine feathered friends in the dogwood tree in front of me. As I opened the door and grabbed my stuff, I noticed some movement in the grass.
Against the dry winter blades, I had been unable to see the robins pecking away at warm, wet dirt for their morning’s breakfast. When I closed the door, several jumped, and my eyes started discerning just how many were in the yard. There must have been 30 or more birds chattering and eating in front of me.
Whenever I hear birdsong, I am reminded of one of my favorite poems by Emily Dickinson. And given my prayer time in the car that morning, her words were a timely reminder–one of hope that is unwavering, even in the midst of struggle or loneliness.
I suppose none of us likes the challenge or pain that must take place in order for hope to exist. We would not experience hope if we were comfortable all the time. But, if we are open to it, hope can become a uniting force. It can remind us how strong we are through our faith or the faith of others. It can remind us that we are not alone.
Before heading inside, I took out my phone and recorded some of the birdsong. It’s not much, but boy, does the birdsong make my spirit soar, and I welcome it anytime to perch in my soul.