A Shabbas--Make That Pentecost and Mother's Day--Table:
Of Bird Songs and Crumblet Catchers

(This was written friday, just couldnt get online again till today.)

Living on this bay, it's been just amazing for its birds. We've seen several kinds of sparrows (especially the golden crown sparrow), gold and yellow finches, chickadees, wrens, robins, towhees, warblers, northern flickers, hummingbirds, brewer blackbirds, barn and tree swallows, starlings, crows, ravens, seagulls, godwits, some unknown named birds that are like mini godwits, sandpipers, bald eagle (one incredibly up close with wings extended), turkey buzzards, red tail hawks, harrier hawks, bufflehead ducks (my favorite, often they were upclose too), lesser and greater bluebills/scaup (sometimes very up close as well), various sea scoters, shovel bills, western grebes, horned grebes (once with their rare mating plumage), loons (both red throated and common loons, once there was a mixed group of over 100 of them), mergansers, canada geese, brants, swans,
blue herons (including right outside both the kitchen and bedroom windows, quite up close).Not to mention the deer of course, and the beautiful seals that have been out in the water, and the really lovely rocks, shells, feathers and wood pieces we've found or seen. And then of of course there's been finding new additions to my fiance's beloved crabpot buoy collection washed ashore, lol.

Now he and i have some pretty silly habits btw. Like this little obsession with the theme song to NPR's Bedtime Stories. Perhaps you know the song....."Where's my jammas, where's my jammas...?" Just can't seem to resist making up songs to that tune. And one of them (ahem) is this....please picture it being sung by a trio of fluffy cheery little sparrows if you will:

Where's my crumblets
Where's my crumblets
Where's my crumblets
Been chirpin' here all day

I'm fluffy and i'm cute,
Why don't you feed me
Where's my crumblets
I'll sing a song for thee

So now that i've set the scene here (lol)...the other day, was thinking about the whole area of inheritance. Inheritance can be about material things, but it can also be about qualities, or memories, or traditions. So, was looking around seeing what traditions i could perhaps hand down somehow, and what surprisingly stood out was something pretty small really, sitting here by the kitchen sink....a "crumblet catcher".

It's a simple little thing, a small red picnic mug from around the early 60's. And i keep it by the sink to sweep the little bread etc crumblets into before washing the dishes, gathering little things the birds would eat. Sounds like a silly thing, but it makes me smile, thinking that this little crumblet pile just swept from the plates will soon be a whole meal for one of those little guys out there. And so even when there are no birds outside at the moment, just seeing that little crumblet catcher makes me think of them still, and smile.

So as this stood out when first looking at traditions to pass on, been looking at it with new eyes lately. And seeing it reminds me of lots of things really. It reminds of the joy those birds out the window bring. And such joy it really is when i think about it.....can't even imagine not having them out there, hearing their song each day. And it reminds me too of that precious verse in Scripture about how God cares for the birds and lilies of the field ....so we should know He will care for us as well, and should simply trust and tend to what is before us, rather than worry over tomarrow. The poverty of those little birds chirping away out there eating their little crumblets, its what St Francis and St Clare called "holy poverty" really....truly admitting our dependance rather than turning to an independent pride instead. And admitting this dependence, well it makes those little birds...
SING : ) And it's what i long for deep down, that simple trust, that...song.

Biblical simplicity... a life that sings of beauty... holy poverty.....well it's all the same thing really. Its forgoing the trappings of materialism for the deeper riches of a simple and trustful life. Its not about being destitute, its rather about truly living simply rather than focusing on wealth. Its living like those little sparrows do. They arent miserable or desparate, they are humble and simple yet content. They have their sweet cozy homes, they have the joy of flight and of nature, they have their families, they have their crumblets, they have a simple trustful life ....and they offer up their song of joy, a song that means so much to those that listen to it, much more than those little birds probably even realize. Trust and gratitude turned to song like that, it's one of the deepest treasures of all perhaps. Hmmm.... maybe a crumblet catcher's not such a bad tradition to hand down after all, a tradition of trustful and joyful simplicity....aspiring anyway : ) .

Something stood out recently, from Embracing the
Virtues of the Single-Income Family by Christine Conners, MA:

"A life of simplicity is in many ways a spiritual quest, one that requires that we separate ourselves from a world obsessed with having the newest, biggest, and best. The goal of simplicity is to find peace in a walk that is often far different from the others walking around you....

One of the more difficult challenges to our resolve comes from envy. As we watch our neighbors and friends enjoying the finer things in life, it is easy to assume that they must be happier than us. But the research on the subject conflicts with this premise. ..a higher income might help if we are very poor....(but) gaining more income if we are middle-class or upper-class and are living in a wealthy nation is unlikely to substantially bolster our SWB (state of well being) on a long-term basis.

Now what if your basic needs are being met, yet you find yourself experiencing a great deal of monetary discontent? Materialism may be your problem as Dr. Tim Kasser’s research explains: When people believe materialistic values are important, they report less happiness and more distress, have poorer interpersonal relationships, contribute less to the community, and engage in more ecologically damaging behaviors.

Remember: It is often not the loss of income that is the greatest challenge for the new stay-at-home.... but rather the inability to break out of the materialist hold money has on all of us."

Tonight after writing this i went out for a sunset walk...and was reminded again that a song of gratitude is so at the heart of things here. There are two moments each day when the song of birds takes on this most especial quality...right before sunrise in the morning, and right before dark at night (particularly in areas with night birds) .....and it instinctivey feels like morning and evening prayer. Now its one thing to know that we have decided to pray at certain times (like the Liturgy of Hours), that's a very healing tradition indeed. But to be around these birds singing their morning and evening praise so deeply and instinctively, well it moves something deeper still.

Think i'll add something to the little crumblet catcher soon, something to remind not only of the joy of the bird's song and life, but also of its praise. I love too how the bird is sometimes a symbol for the soul, especially the soul in prayer, or even of living a prayerful life. Reminds me of this really lovely psalm-poem by Laure :

To worship the Lord
is to become breath finding
its truest rhythm

A very peaceful Shabbas everyone, and a blessed Sabbath : )

BIG POSTNOTE: Added later....forgot that Pentecost is coming up tomarrow. Kind a of a timely co-in-see-dance with the bird thoughts, a nice little gift given that i'm thankful for : ) How wonderful too that it falls on Mother's day this year...kind of brings home big time how there is more than one way to nourish and mother and to bear fruit, besides having children (as beautiful as having children is). Still, i am so very grateful to those mothers that have born children, especially my own Mother...love you Mom!

~*~A Very Blessed Pentecost Everyone...and Mother's Day! ~*~

(Sources for the images for this post are unknown so far)

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