The Singing of Birds

Homer SunriseThey’re back.  The silence of winter has been broken by the melodies of songbirds.

The bleakness of long dark days, that wane into long dark cold nights has been interrupted–even changed.

From the boughs of spruce trees and the barren limbs of alders and cottonwood come the melodic tones of the songbirds, who having completed their long migrations from the southern hemisphere, have perched in my trees to welcome my mornings.

It’s another sign of the promise of a faithful God who promised that there would be seasons, and that seasons would change.  For every Winter there is a Spring, and for every dark night there is a promise of new light, warmth, and fresh beginnings of a day full of new mercy.

The ground beneath my feet softens, changing from frozen earth to thin layers of mud that gradually become deeper layers of moisture and soil as the ice melts away.  Puddles form on the surface of the lawn and the gravel driveways–waiting for the thaw that will absorb them into the ground.

Dormant seeds begin to feel the trickle of water washing in around them, and the gradual warming of the earth by the sun. These seeds will shiver and shed their outer shell in order to forge their path through the dirt as fresh sprouts in the days ahead.

More than the fragrance of fresh coffee in the morning, or the inviting smells of breakfast on the stove, the rays of sunshine in the early morning hours is the most welcome view, and I soak in its rays as it climbs up over the mountain landscape to perch in the sky.  Every day it climbs a little higher than the last.  Every evening it lingers just a few moments longer. My world is brighter by the day.

In mid-winter I forget what the song of the birds sounds like.  The earth seems silenced and hushed then, and the darkness bids me to stay inside and keep warm as I can.  But then there comes that morning–so unexpected when, before my alarm wakes me from sleep, I am roused to life by singing.  They are back!

The songs of the birds tell me to dream again.  They tell me that there are more birds to follow as the days grow brighter and the ground grows softer, so keep watching and listening.  Their melodies recite again the promise that God is with me and that He has not forgotten.

Genesis 8:22

22 “As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”

Matthew 6:26

26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Weather Dog

Beyond the four basic seasons of the year, Alaska has one extra season.  Following the long months of winter comes a season affectionately termed “Breakup”.  This was a new concept to me when I first moved to this state after marrying my Alaskan man.  I remember being in the post office one day overhearing women talking and saying “wow, that was a really good breakup this year!”  This statement was met by many affirmative statements or nods of the head.  What were they talking about, I wondered?  The mystery is no longer a mystery now that I have witnessed 14 years of such “Breakups” and the truths about this season remain the same.

Breakup Fun

As the ground slowly warms and the snow begins to melt here in this state, underneath the layer of grasses on the ground, the frost begins to soften.  The layer of frost under the ground can be several feet thick or several inches.  The melting affect causes the roads to sag in places and pot holes become the new normal.  Large trucks are not allowed to carry their full capacity during this season due to the weight on the pavement breaking up the asphalt.  There are many bumps in the roads and gravel roads turn to mud.

One phenomenon about breakup season is the reality that everything that got buried in the winter snow is now thawing and becoming exposed.  The pets who did their “duty” outside and it was quickly buried by a snow storm are stepping outside now to a lawn full of their “deposits” and the smells can be gnarly.  The trash that people threw out of their car windows that was eventually plowed into a berm is now exposed and it looks like a littering ground.

This is where Jamin and I became acquainted with Weather Dog.  We were driving into town one day from our little cabin in the woods of Anchor Point.  It was breakup season and the large berms of snow that lined the sides of the road were beginning to shrink and melt away.  It was on this day that we noticed a patch of fur sticking up from one of the berms.  We didn’t stop to investigate, but every day we drove by we noticed more and more of the fur  exposed of what we would affectionately name Weather Dog.  Weather Dog was an unfortunate animal who at sometime in the winter was hit by a car and plowed into the berm of snow on the side of the road.  It was sad to notice that Weather Dog had been there for such a long time and no one knew he was there.  As spring began to thaw, that is when he was exposed.

It was several days before anyone took care of  Weather Dog.  His body lay in the melting snow for quite a while.  So why did we call him Weather Dog?  He became the weather forecaster for our day.  If  Weather Dog’s fur was wet when we drove by, we knew it was a rainy day.   If  Weather Dog’s Fur was frosty, we knew it had been a cold night…keep your jacket handy.  Weather dog, for just a little while became a familiar scene on our drive into town.

This story may seem a bit cruel and I understand why you would think so, but the reason I share this story is to point out a principle that seems to be true in our everyday lives as well as in Breakup season.  We have the tendency to bury things in our lives.  Bad experiences, poor decisions, griefs, losses, and sins.  We are successful sometimes at keeping them hidden for days, months, or years.  But then the Holy Spirit begins to melt away our hearts, or begins to remove the things in our lives that we used to hide behind and from our lives smells and rubbish begin to emerge.  Sometimes we don’t notice for long periods of time while our neighbors, or family members are made aware of the garbage being exposed.  Sometimes we “stink”.  Sometimes our griefs and losses are apparent to everyone around us, but we haven’t yet faced them….much like Weather Dog.

Hebrews 4:12-13

12For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

God’s Word is able to melt our defenses, expose our junk, and make us whole again.  This process is necessary if there is to be a “Spring” in our lives.  We must allow Him to clean up the dead things and plant new and living things in their place.