Just like that, I am swept
into the bluebird’s orbit,
captivated by color
that suggests fibers
raveled from heaven’s hem.
It feels like a benediction. Memory leaps to internalize this feathered streak that signals spring.
In response, I drape a shawl the changing colors of sky around my shoulders and throat. Even sing a little, heart lifting. The moment feels Oz-like—minus any pressure to soar over somewhere’s elusive rainbow.
My mother knit the shawl lavishly; I enwrap myself, twice. When events sap my spirits, when someone I’ve trusted fails someone I love, when anxiety rises, I envelop myself in the blues that love wrought.
Is it misguided to reach for peace through a tangible semblance of nature’s garments?
. . . blue of the sea or distant hills
. . . skeins of mist, overhanging a pond
. . . quirky nests strewn with blue plastic foraged by Satin Bowerbirds
In his sermon on the mount, Jesus urged us to notice the birds in his father’s care, reminding us worry takes us nowhere.
So, is donning the shawl a small act of faith? I hope I’m expressing wonder over the bluebird; I also wonder if I’m just playing dress up.
Or worse, giving in to a gimmick: Accessorize, to distract the mind and resist dismay.
When I read about the dusk-to-dawn eyesight of deer, who perceive blue 20 times better than we do, wonder reclaims me.
“It is an amazing thing,”
a Puritan wrote, addressing God,
“to see that thy many gifts and creatures
are but thy hands taking hold of me.”
Through the natural world the Infinite downsizes and then distills itself. It beckons us closer, inviting personal contact. Enfolding us.
Perhaps our response resizes the wild to suit our domestic realm. Human hands seek things scaled to their grasp—like the bent-over woman who reached for the Savior’s hem, then rose, standing erect for the first time in years, arrayed in wholeness.
A robe, a shawl, a bluebird — perhaps these are placeholders: stand-ins, until the next occasion we sense God’s touch.
“Existence has greater depths of beauty, mystery, and benediction than the wildest visionary has ever dared to dream.”
—Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat
Have you experienced a nature-based benediction you might consider sharing here?
You might also enjoy this: Blues Apprentice: True-blue Confessions
First quote from In The Valley of Vision