This morning, I woke up so thankful for winter birds in Pennsylvania. In one suburban neighborhood, Penn State researchers have seen 25 different species of winter birds at backyard feeders.
I personally love the chickadees and cardinals most of all. I wish I had the kind of camera, lens, patience, and artistry of my friend over at Pollywog Creek who keeps a photo journal of the most incredible images of birds she’s captured through her lens. Or, I have a neighbor, John, who knows how to place those birds so perfectly in his lens.
So sadly, I offer you no images of these beautiful birds.
But I can tell you this: Winter strips bare the landscape and allows you to see clearly. Nothing hides.
I’ve learned to love winter.
My Columbian student—a refugee who settled with her family in Miami—now departs from Penn State to work in Minnesota. We worry for her about the cold and the snow, but then I tell her the same wisdom my friend told me when I left the warmth of Virginia for the bitter cold and dark skies of Michigan.
She told me that the winter would force a unique perspective. The winter would reveal things that only winter can. I would see bright red berries, trees blackened and shimmered with ice, and the packed indentation of animal tracks in the snow. The stark landscape would allow me no distractions, either. It would turn me inward to the kind of beauty and joy only found within, with God.
She predicted that the winter would make me a poet. The landscape would make me write.
I thought about my student who would find a new way to live in the cold. I thought about my whole life and what it meant to survive winters of the soul. I rejoiced about what I can only see in winter.
And today, my husband and I will refill our new cardinal feeder with the best seed. I fill my own heart, and I wait to see what comes about here in the falling snow.