Tag Archives: house finch

Recklessness, and words thrown away.

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors,
there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of night.

Lorrie posted that quote from Rainer Maria Rilke on her blog, and I have to agree with her that shrieking has somewhat the wrong tone as a descriptor… Even “reckless” can’t be right, because it’s all in God’s good order, even if it is more than I can fully appreciate with my puny and/or disordered soul.

She titled her post “Every Year is More Beautiful,” and I agree here, too, and that is part of the “problem.” The beauty in my world is magnified year by year, day after day, with over-the-top sweetness not to be compared with anything so flat as a slice of pie.

My garden is full of it, as is the sky above, and the birds’ songs. This week a house finch sang to me from the rooftop, and I realized I’d never heard his announcement before; it sounds like he is being quite emphatic about something. This morning I walked a little earlier than usual and saw and heard several more birds.

But what most occupied me on the path was hundreds of pages of Holy Scripture scattered on the pavement or in the leaves or grass at the side, and even in the creek. The first page was all alone, from the Gospel of Matthew, and as soon as I picked it up I saw another just beyond, and another… then larger parts of a little New Testament that had been ripped out of the sewn binding. I gathered each scrap or sheaf I saw, except for one of the orange covers and whatever parts might have remained inside it that I saw floating in the water below the bridge.

I read a line or two from a few pages, like,

Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us,
from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son,
in truth and love.

But mostly I tried to be efficient
in the task of recovering the pages of more words similarly poignant.

It seems impossible for me to get a good picture of the cow parsnip in the creek. The whiteness of its flowers shrieks at my phone’s camera! This is the first year I’ve noticed that plant in our stream… and say, aren’t those some healthy nettles I see next to it?

Down there flitting among the willows and the cow parsnip was an unfamiliar bird. Dark grey, the size of a crow, but not acting like a crow. He flicked his tail frequently, and he had a black head and a vague black stripe down his back. I haven’t found him in the bird guide yet. To provide (so far) two new bird encounters in one week could be thought of as recklessly generous of my Father. How can He expect me to cherish His gifts if He lavishes them continuously?

And the button buds of the pyracantha are darling, not one as large as the head of a hatpin:

My neighbor Richard’s prickly shrubs are always half-dead, but they make white petticoated blossoms with blood-red hearts – so plucky and girly at the same time:

I wanted to read every wrinkled page of the Bible I picked up, because I was sure there were pertinent messages there… but of course I couldn’t, and I just brought them all home for a more honorable disposal. Eventually the evidence added up to three copies of the little orange Gideon New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs that had been torn and tossed.

I’ll type out just one meaningful verse from a photo above, that captures something of the excessive generosity of the Subject of these loosed leaves:

Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
Sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

But wait —
In that modern translation, I’m afraid the syntax doesn’t satisfy, as the end of my post.
So here is another excerpt from those pages, for your edification:

Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good,
And blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.


Henfield and finches are Brilliant.

from the Web

This morning through my open kitchen windows I heard music that reminded me of visits to the pet store, and it was because of the songs of finches in my garden. I had to get out the binoculars and study a bit, but I discovered a pair of house finches in the Dr. Suess (redwood) tree in the yard behind mine.  I even took a very fuzzy photo of them as they sat close together and necked. I wonder if they have a nest up there. From time to time they come down to have a snack from my bird feeder, and often follow it with a sip from the top of the pineapple finial on my fountain.

The robin hopped through this morning, also, and a towhee. Hummingbirds have started to sip from the hummingbird feeder I set up for the first time here. Well, one hummingbird at a time…. The flocks of birds we had in February vanished for most of rainy March, and now new ones are coming. It’s a new world for me, all this birdwatching.

IMG_2027Henfield Brilliant is the name of my favorite helianthemum. Who would have dreamed, two years ago when I had a hard time finding even one of these plants, that I would ever have nine of them bordering soft woody paths? They are starting to bloom now.IMG_2032

Today I am headed out to yet another birthday party (blush), this time with two friends with whom I share a birthday week and year. This is our 31st year having lunch together! We all love to garden, and this year I found Henfield Brilliants to give to them, too.