Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Noticing the Wings that Fly

Sunday, I travel 6 miles to Headwaters Chapel for the first of two church services.  I park along the road, in front of the Varner family farm.  Sometimes the cows are lined up along the fence in hopeful greeting; what they think I bring, I cannot say, but whatever they’re hoping for, I disappoint, turning away from them and towards the chapel.

Last Sunday was a beautiful, cold, crisp, clear winter day.  The cows had long since given up hope on me, so there was no greeting, or so I thought.

As I turned from the car door to swing my robe on at the road’s edge, I felt more than heard or saw movement.

And then I heard it . . . the sound of hundreds of birds’ wings beating . . .

The flock lifted up on waves . . . staying low, it was almost as if they ran rather than flew across the road to the field further away from this mid-morning intruder.

A smaller group held back, waiting until all the others had landed on the other side before lifting up in identical fashion. . . the staggered crossing created a long ten-count of beating wings . . . the only sound in that moment in the whole of the valley . . .

As they resettled in the far field, I realized why I hadn’t seen them before . . . even though I knew they were there, even though I watched them fly in and land, as soon as they touched down, one by one and in groups of hundreds, they disappeared into the short grass.

The wing sound was my only real proof that they had been there.

I was sorry I had disturbed them even as I longed to hear their wing song again.

If they hadn’t moved, I would have never seen them.

Ears are for hearing and eyes for seeing, but hearts that soar and feet that dance and wings that fly are for noticing.


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