For the Birds

We spend a great deal of time taking care of our bird buddies. While we haven’t had much snow, the temperatures are frigid, so we keep the feeders full and the water warm.

There’s a new bird in town: a mockingbird. There may be two of them, but so far we’ve only see one at a time. He/she has a different way of eating the suet, standing on the squirrel baffle and pecking away.

Saint Francis of Assisi had a special relationship with birds, who often followed him around and rested on his shoulders, arms, or hands as he prayed or walked around outside.

The story is told that Francis and some others were traveling through the Spoleto Valley in Italy when the Saint saw a flock of birds that had gathered in some trees beside a field. As he watched them, they watched him and Francis felt that the birds were expecting something, not the food offerings that I give, but rather a sermon just for them. The monks who were with him wrote down what he said and published it in the book, The Little Flowers of St. Francis.

“My sweet little sisters, birds of the sky,” Francis said, “you are bound to heaven, to God, your Creator. In every beat of your wings and every note of your songs, praise him. He has given you the greatest of gifts, the freedom of the air. You neither sow, nor reap, yet God provides for you the most delicious food, rivers, and lakes to quench your thirst, mountains, and valleys for your home, tall trees to build your nests, and the most beautiful clothing: a change of feathers with every season. You and your kind were preserved in Noah’s Ark. Clearly, our Creator loves you dearly, since he gives you gifts so abundantly. So please beware, my little sisters, of the sin of ingratitude, and always sing praise to God.”

The monks who recorded Francis’ sermon to the birds wrote that the birds listened intently to everything Francis had to say:

“While Francis said these words, all those birds began to open their beaks, and stretch out their necks, and spread their wings, and bend their heads reverently toward the earth, and with acts and songs, they showed that the holy father [Francis] gave them great pleasure.”

Francis “rejoiced” at the birds’ response, the monks wrote, and

“wondered much at such a multitude of birds and at their beauty and at their attention and tameness, and he devoutly thanked God for them.”

The birds remained attentively gathered around Francis, the story goes, until he blessed them and they flew away—some heading north, some south, some east, and some west—going out in all directions as if on their way to pass along the good news of God’s love that they had just heard to other creatures. (1)

Peace

(1) Hopler, Whitney. “Saint Francis of Assisi and His Sermon to Birds.” Learn Religions, Aug. 27, 2020, learnreligions.com/saint-francis-assisi-sermon-to-birds-124321.

Distraction

The internet isn’t always such a great thing… I’m using my computer ostensibly to write, but instead I found myself constantly distracted by the the latest “breaking news” that is really the same already-broken news, and scrolling scrolling, reading the same stories, different headlines, over and over.

On the edge of Obsession, I took action and retreated.

Grateful that I have a big enough house to get away from myself, I turned off the computer, made myself some hot tea, walked down the hall to a comfy club chair surrounded by books and windows and cozied up near the fire.

We cut the cord on cable a while back and have been just fine with rabbit ear antennas bringing in our local stations. Through Roku we are subscribed to Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, but we usually just watch whatever cowboy show he picks or some home/cooking show I choose. On Monday, though, we subscribed to the new “Discovery+” and I have to say it saved my mind. It has several different channels, including some of our super-favorites from HGTV, Discovery, Cooking Channel, DIY, and more…

It’s like a dang miracle, the fun I’ve had watching decorating shows from the 90s, reuniting with shows like Gardening by the Yard, Decorating Cents, and my current fave – Design on a Dime… In this one, Charles, Summer, and Kevin redecorate a room for under $1000. That same $1000 won’t go as far 25 years later, but really they don’t do much more than paint and re-arrange the furniture. Back then, HGTV had lots of decorating shows that were something you could do at home. While the fixer-upper stuff is fun to watch, knocking down walls is not something you can just randomly do. Even though their stuff is so Dated, I’m motivated to play the game and do some re-decorating…

Oprah’s channel is on there, too, and I eagerly tuned in to watch some SuperSoul Sunday. The episode that I chose was from last March, just before the lockdown. In it, Oprah discusses the book “The Universal Christ” with its author, Fr. Richard Rohr. I had listened to some podcast homilies by him that I enjoyed, but I wasn’t expecting such Inspiration. Soul-Sister Kathy long ago recommended Fr. Rohr to me, especially “Falling Upward”, in which I am now engrossed. I highly recommend both books.

Still and all, I have No Idea where this is Leading,,,

Peace

The Conjunction Junction

Did y’all look up at the sky on the Solstice? The experience of a once-in-every-400-years occurrence happening on the Longest Night of the Year 2020 should have Meaning, shouldn’t it? Two Stars appearing as One sharing a point in Time and Space should send a ripple of power down to our struggling little planet, shoudn’t it? Well, maybe changes are more incremental than spectacular, but these two stars, which are really planets, are Always dancing together in our Night-Time Sky.

Ancients saw the sky as the home of the gods; even Christianity has God living in a heaven above. All of the myths grew out of the stories that were derived by watching the skies turn; certainly farming and husbandry relied on the skies to guide them through the seasons of planting and harvest, mating and birthing. With no competing light, the canopy of stars must have been so bright and their movement so clear; I wonder when I try to imagine it. Every constellation spoke to the star-gazer; every phase of the moon held meaning.

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant with a mass one-thousandth that of the Sun, but two-and-a-half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined. Jupiter is one of the brightest objects visible to the naked eye in the night sky and has been known to ancient civilizations since before recorded history. When viewed from Earth, Jupiter can be bright enough for its reflected light to cast visible shadows, and is on average the third-brightest natural object in the night sky after the Moon and Venus.

Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second-largest in the Solar System, after Jupiter. It is a gas giant with an average radius of about nine times that of Earth. It only has one-eighth the average density of Earth; however, with its larger volume, Saturn is over 95 times more massive.

Emily Segal, writing in The Guardian, predicts that we are entering a new astrological epoch as the every-20-year conjunctions of these two planets moves from an Earth sign, which focuses on materialism, hierarchies, resource acquisition, and territory control, to an Air sign, which favors the renovation of hierarchies, decentralization, shifting orders, rapid translation, and rampant spiritually…

When I began to read about the “Christmas Star” I earlier this month, I checked out the night-skies to find the planets; they were clearly visible from my yard, looking SW, though they sank below the trees about 40 minutes after dark.

Thinking we’d get more darkness outside of the city, we took Goldie up to New Harmony the afternoon before the Big Event to scout out some locations. We found a spot under the old bridge, shooting SW down the Wabash River. We got some okay sunset pictures, but…

we didn’t stay until it was Really Dark because we’d forgotten the tripod… It was clearly two stars, though very close together.

On the Solstice, we turned out our lights and stood out in the yard, looking up at a very bright star that was really two giant planets, appearing in the same spot in time and space.. We didn’t try to take any pictures, we only gazed up into the Sky…

I think we need to do that more often…

Peace