It is icy at Trout Creek this February morning from the overnight sleety rain suspended in millions of icicles off branches and eves. I have the window open a crack to soak in the music of the silence. The creek riffles on, but the rest of the landscape is a still life, no deer, and no squirrels. Perhaps it is too early yet. Perhaps they ‘ve hit their own version of the snooze alarm, and are rolled over in their roosting cavities for another 10 minutes.
I go make coffee, and sit back down to marvel at the way nature stills itself. The trees have nothing to say, though they are adorned in crystal gowns just waiting for the dance to begin. The tall grasses are bent in prayer. You can feel the hush, as if you are in a great, empty cathedral. The silence is pregnant with expectancy.
Just then the bold, brassy wren who habits the tamarack tree chirrups his, “I’m here, I’m here, I’m heeeerrrre!”
Over and over he chants his solo, as if inviting the world to join the chorus. Maybe he’s shouting, “Wake up, wake up, wake uuuupppp!”
The wren’s chatter works: the squirrels are carefully heading downtree. The titmice family swoops in to the feeder for brunch. The deer are out there pawing the snow in the fallen maple’s atrium to belly down for a morning nap.
In his book, The Singing Wilderness, Sigurd Olson writes about the winter blue jay, with its “brazen call, more of a challenge than a song, a challenge to the storm and cold.
There was a jauntiness and fortitude, announcing to me and to the whole frozen world that where there is wine and sparkle in the air, it is joy to be alive. I liked that jay and what he stood for; no softness there, pure hardiness and disregard of the elements.”
I think that’s how I want to embrace this cold, frozen world we live in. With a cheerful fortitude and strength of character that encourages people to wake up from their numbing technology, their frozen minds, their careless thoughts, their selfish motives. To embrace the joy that life brings, whether it be storm or stillness. I want to be hardier, and heartier in the face of both challenge and delight. Perhaps, though, a bit less brazen than the wren or jay, with a meekness learned from saints, and a thankfulness wrought by God’s great mercies.
Bring on the ice! (May it give us pause).