f Morning Rose Prayer Gardens: Winter

Friday, February 10, 2012


Seeking Food
(Journal entry, winter of 2011)

                I like to feed the birds, and consequently the mice, deer and squirrels benefit.
           It is mid-January and a light snow has been falling most of the day. The birds are hungry for suet and sunflower seeds to keep them warm, and I have joyfully obliged them by filling the feeders.
                I watch the coppery fox squirrel as it hops across the snow in my neighbor’s yard. It climbs the utility pole and deftly walks across the wire over the busy road. Making a ninety degree turn, it follows the wire across my yard to the stately white pine and makes a short leap into its boughs. I know it is heading for the fresh supply of seed.
                I’d decided during the previous week to stop fussing over the squirrels that visit my avian food source; I’m sure Saint Francis is proud of me. Instead, I stopped at the feed store and picked up some corn and peanuts for the frisky visitors. From the shed I rummaged a large saucer feeder and its chain, hung it about six feet away from the bird feeders, filled it and waited for my furry friends to find it.  It is bewildering to me that, over a week later, the corn and peanuts are still relatively untouched.
                The squirrel has now dropped from the pine boughs and totters across the stockade fence. It leaps down into a smaller evergreen, scurries under the bird feeders to another shrub, wiggles its way up between the branches, hops on the window sill and with a determined leap hurls itself on the thistle feeder. With one more little hop it reaches the final destination and lands on top of the feeder with sunflower seeds.
                This is its routine, a well known course to acquire a few morsels of food. It has habitually followed this path and never looked off to the side where a much more nourishing feast awaits.
A more filling bounty is so close. It lies just beyond the meager bits of gratification found in the routine of  daily life. All that is needed is to break a habit and go beyond what is so familiar.

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