In New England the signs of Spring are subtle. In the forest while hiking in late April, it seems that winter is slow to loosen its grip. The trees are but buds and only a few Skunk Cabbage are able to break through the thawing mud. Spring with its promise of color and signs of new life seem a distant hope.
For people like me, who awaken to first look at my phone news feed, with images of a seemingly intractable war in Ukraine and news of yet another variation of COVID, the lingering signs of winter seem to be the norm. I know Spring is coming, like hope, but ever so slowly.
Then, when the seasons seems stalled and hope a lost cause, in the corner of my eye, I see him. A flash of brilliant orange upon his chest, sheltered by wings of black and white. The Baltimore Oriole has returned! This herald of good news, has once again migrated from the lush landscape of Central America, to nest in my neighborhood, in my local forest.
Nature from her wealth of wisdom, sends these Orioles, each year, to return to my backyard, to yours too. This very same Oriole and mate return each year, followed by their fledglings and their fledglings. Knowing instinctively each May where to find safe haven, where to build their nest and come September, when to return to their second home in Mexico, or Honduras or Nicaragua. Imagine.
Just when we think winter will never give way to Spring, the Oriole shows up. Just when we think that war is inevitable, intractable and hope is no more, that flash of orange reminds us to look up. This past week, at the first sign, I actually clapped my hands and danced. In my own backyard, I gave voice to a prayer of joy and thanks. Just when I needed hope the most, that beautiful migratory bird showed up.
Ornithologists tells us that each night during migration season, there are thousands upon thousands of birds flying overhead, thousands of feet above us, flying thousands of miles, from one corner of the globe to the next. They fly at night to conserve energy, hide from predators, soar on wind currents and to follow geographic markers, as their ancestors have done since the beginning of time.
Most of us forget to look up. We're not aware, not mindful, that above us fly a moving miracle of beauty and hope. Reminding us that the challenges of any given moment are temporary and that the pattern of renewal begins, yet again.
My friends, have hope. Look up. Springtime has come.
With you on the journey ~ Kent Harrop