When Blackbirds Are on the Wing

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I have at long last, attended another “early service”.  Week days do not afford such luxury.  There is too much commotion on days like Tuesday, at the rabbit patch.  Animals need to go out and then fed-and everybody has somewhere to be.  Alarms ring out warnings and coffee is brewing.  No matter how early I rise, at some point, it comes down to a commotion.

This morning was a sharp contrast to all of that-at least for me.  I am in Elizabeth City, for the first time in three weeks-yes, I have counted the days.  The “early service”, I attended this morning, was in Jennys’ backyard.  My morning came peacefully, but I witnessed all sorts of frantic activity under the oldest tree in the yard.  Some doves were grazing peacefully and did not seem to have a bit of quarrel in them-til the squirrels showed up.  The doves took off in great haste crying out in distress.  This is the habit of doves-they always are “quiet as church mice” til they take to the air.  Many a dove has startled me on my walks by field and wood.  The squirrels took no notice but went straight away to the business of  the task at hand-gathering nuts and acorns, to hoard up for the barren days of winter.  Some robins were curious about the racket and came to join in.  It made me wonder if the first frost is not so far away.

Jenny had a late morning appointment and Will took Lyla out, so I put on a pot of chicken and broccoli soup.  I busied myself with some light housekeeping and writing, while they were away.  The chatter in the back yard had been settled by the time I went out again-and just in time to see a small flock of blackbirds peppering up the sky in a poetic fashion.  Thick white clouds filtered the light allowing slight shadows.  One day I will have a good camera and capture such moments.  I was sorry when the blackbirds left-they are so very lovely.  Blackbirds flying trigger a memory for me, that I hope to always remember.

I was much younger then.  I had been left alone-stranded, it felt.  My young husband had died.  I was hurt and very scared.  I was also so very disappointed as I had prayed fervently for a miracle.  What I wanted seemed best for everybody.  I made a meager income, intended to supplement the household.  I had five precious children to raise-and one morning,  I told God how I felt about it.  I was out behind a garden shed, right about this time of year.  I pleaded my case and concluded that everything I had hoped for was lost.  Surely I would not find any beauty to life again-God had taken from me, I thought . . .just about that time, a very large flock of blackbirds flew overhead.  They swirled in to one pattern after another and I stopped complaining as I watched them.  I thought how beautiful they were-and suddenly I laughed .  I do not worry that the moment may seem insignificant-for me it was not.  I never see a flock of blackbirds, that I do not remember that morning, now many years ago, when blackbirds were on the wing.

By noon, all had safely gathered in.  The soup was ready and we all thought it was especially good.  The thick clouds of the morning parted and sunlight dappled in the little lane beside the house.  The patches of sky that the clouds revealed, were a brilliant shade of blue-the shade only seen in October.  It was the perfect day for a long walk.

I took Lyla  the longest way around the village, before ending up at the river.  On the way, we collected yellow leaves and red ones too.  We found a confederate jasmine blooming like it was June, and so we  picked a few blossoms.  We also took a sprig from a cedar tree, because it smelled like Christmas.  We came across some elaborate  Halloween decorations.  Lyla said the ghosts, which were swaying in the light breeze, were spooky.  There was a life size witch in one yard and Lyla did not want to tarry near there.  Lyla did like the bright jack-o-lanterns with friendly faces  that we met on the way.

The river was as blue as I have ever seen it.  The sun was almost bright and the clouds were the cumulus kind.  They were a stark white and floated lazily above us.  Lyla was freed from the confinement of her stroller to run as she pleased on the large grassy lot by the “river that laughs”.  She walked on the wide timbers that are used to mark the parking area, for a good while.  She has certainly improved on her sense of balance, I noticed.  We met a friendly lady with a friendly dog, named “Boo”.  He looked like a toy.  We walked a short ways together until we reached the home of the friendly lady.  Lyla and I walked just a few minutes more and then we were back where we started.  We went in and Lyla wasted no time showing off our souvenirs.  Lyla told the story of our afternoon as she presented each one to Jenny.  

We are all collecting souvenirs, on our journey, I thought.  Sometimes they are things like leaves-sometimes they are the smell of hyacinths or wood smoke . . . and sometimes they are things like a sky full of blackbirds.

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19 thoughts on “When Blackbirds Are on the Wing

  1. I love how God uses things like blackbirds to reassure us that He has not forgotten us and that He knows exactly where we are in life. I am so glad they are a great reminder for you Michele. This post really touched my heart….I could feel those deep feelings of despair and the surprise of joy from blackbirds. Life is really something isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Faye-I was so scared-I should have remembered WHO my Father was-as I said I was young. I take so much comfort in the fact that God does know all of us very personally-and loves us more deeply than we can imagine. We all have many stories, don’t we? thank you dearest, love Michele

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  2. Aww. Wow. I’m so sorry about the loss of your husband, I can’t even begin how hard that was to support and take care of children alone. That is a beautiful story about the blackbirds, it brought tears to my eyes. I saw a curious bird thing today too. We had our first hard freeze last night, so this morning had me scrambling for our winter coats. On the way to church, I noticed a brighter bird sitting on the fence and sure enough it was a bluebird. I was startled, I had only ever seen them in spring before this far north. However, I dug around on the internet for awhile and it says that when migrating they will often reappear in September/October just checking in at favorite nesting sights. I love bluebirds so much and it was just so wonderful to see one.

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    1. Bluebirds may be the most cheerful bird of all. I love them too. A very old man told me that when he was young he saw huge flocks of bluebirds-the use of DDT about eliminated them-thankfully there are more now, than when I was young-thank you for your compassion-It means so much. love Michele

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  3. We had snow for several hours! It started as we drove home from church and kept on until the temperature went below freezing. All we have to show for it is ice on the deck, but the snow was fun to watch. My mother’s father died when she was four years old, so I thought of her mother when reading of the loss of your husband. Mamaw had only two children to raise during the depression. I am in awe of young widows who work miracles with God’s blessings. You’ve done a marvelous job.

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    1. Oh I love snow! I heard it was snowing in the mountains! I think of people too that face hardships-back in the day, I am sure it was even harder-a huge lack of communication and convenience. Now, too my heart saddens at single parents-We must pray for this world. Thank you my sweet Anne. love Michele

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  4. Dearest Rabbit
    Thank you for this wonderful post. In parts it has filled out some of your story (of your life), for it explains why you had to bring your children up alone, which I had no previous knowledge of. You are so incredibly brave, courageous and amazing.

    It takes a lot of hidden strength to keep a family together and bring up children,when you must have felt so broken inside.

    You are just a wonder to me, and I love you for a million more reasons than I already did.

    The frost you are expecting … we have had our first frost this morning (Monday). We had daylights saving at the weekend and all our clocks went back an hour – so the frost on the car was easy to spot in the bright morning glow from the sun.

    All the plants and the animals are snuggling down for the winter. God called to them and told them that it was time to come home now that Summer is over .. and there are just a few stragglers in my garden who are trying to enjoy those last few last moments of the Autumn Sun before having to make the journey home, until next year, when the doors will be opened and they’ll be allowed out to play in the warmth of the sunshine again.

    I’m going to miss them all. The plants and trees, and the birds and small animals who I see around the area where I live. But I’ll be given some new, magical to my heart and eyes to enjoy and experience.

    Have a blessed Monday, dear Rabbit.
    love ~ Cobs. xxx

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  5. In a time of greatest tragedy, these words came to me in a condolence card.
    I am writing them from memory.
    Daily, these thoughts are a comfort and balm to me.
    The birds are within.
    We can’t bring back the past, but we can decide how we see each day in the now, and the next.

    I leave you this one thought to keep.
    I am with you still,
    I do not sleep.

    I am the thousand winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glints on snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
    I am the gentle autumn rain.

    When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of silent birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.

    Do not think of me as gone.
    I am with you still in each new dawn.

    (Titled “Native American Prayer”, no author given)

    Peace be with you, my dear friend.

    Paz

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  6. Michele! YOU are courage walking, waking & weilding faith that keeps on keeping on, trusting our Heavenly Father Who sends blackbirds & beauty our way to let us know we’re loved (matter what we’re facing.) Much love & hugs!! ✨🌷✨💜✨🌷✨

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    1. Thank you Virginia-I have to admit, that I was really scared-nothing made good sense, but I just chose to trust-often I have doubted, even since then-but I KNOW I can trust. I still falter, but God is good and always right. That I am certain of.thank you so much my friend. love Michele

      Liked by 1 person

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