It’s chilly out this morning;
it’s also sunny
and something calls me
to the porch.
I resist the temptation
to answer a request to chat
with a new friend in Bethlehem
(I have so much work to do today):
I explain this in a brief note,
and go outside.
The birds have been all morning
at the feeders
just off the corner of the porch.
Today is the day this week
I count for the Cornell Bird Feeder Watch:
almost 50 Red-Winged Blackbirds,
10 Goldfinch,
40 or more Sparrows.
It is the couples
that thrill me this morning:
Red-Bellied Woodpeckers
House Finches
They all take flight
even though I step gently
out the front door.
I’m sorry to disturb them,
but they will return.
I stand in the cold air,
feeling it,
breathing deeply,
to the chirps high in the Hackberry,
where the birds await my departure;
to the wind in the Hackberry branches,
to a Canada Goose honking
in the distance,
to the kazoo-like call of a Eurasian-Collared Dove
flying overhead.
The Alpaca sit in the sun,
goats, napping.
Then I hear the traffic
on the Interstate,
a mile to the west.
And I think beyond,
of my new friend
in Bethlehem
and how, a week ago when we chatted,
this teenage girl
told me of two young people
killed by Israeli soldiers’ gunfire—
one in her neighborhood.
I wonder if I just didn’t have the courage
this morning,
to hear what she had to say.
I am tearful
as I stand in this beautiful air,
in this beautiful, wide space,
listening to the beautiful birds,
watching the beautiful animals.
Remembering our meeting
in the shadow
of a giant wall
that confines her life,
I send all this to her,
and realize
this may be the most important work
I do today:
that we are all
one living organism;
with heart brimming,
that somehow,
we hold each other’s
and beauty.