I am most thankful for the beauty that has surrounded me in my lifetime. I was given a very special blessing several summers ago. I was outside watering my flower beds and hosing down the driveway, when from the corner of my eye I saw what appeared to be a white bird of some sort, sitting on top of the street lamp in my side yard. It seemed to be content sitting there watching my every move. I was thinking to myself what a pretty bird and how nice it was that it had landed so close to me that I could admire its beauty. If only for a short time.  Then off it would go to wherever birds fly. But it didn't fly away. It continued to sit there for quiet some time, just watching me. I turned my attention back to what I was doing and for a moment I forgot about the lovely creature. Next thing I knew I turned around and it was flying straight for my head! Gosh this crazy thing is going to use me for a landing strip I thought. To my amazement it didn't crash into me. It landed on the concrete slab, close to my feet instead. It began to drink the water that was flowing from my water hose and trickling onto the driveway. That was an interesting sight to see. I was actually giving a bird a drink of water. How wonderful to be at the right place at the right time. My instincts told me to stand still and just enjoy the moment. How many times will this ever happen in my life I thought? It was a special moment for me indeed. But the moment didn't last because the bird got its fill of water and began its flight. For a brief moment I was sad to think that I had shared something with Mother Nature and it was over as quickly as it had begun. To my surprise the birds flight was just a short distance to a nearby tree in my front yard.

  No one can convince me that angels do not walk this earth in search of those who are in need. In whatever shape or form, they do exist. That day I was visited by such a creature. The reason I can say that without any hesitation is because the very next day, lo and behold, there was that same bird sitting up in my tree peering into my front window at me. Waiting and watching. And so began my love affair with one of Gods greatest creatures.

  Each day thereafter I would go outside and scatter bird seed on the ground beneath the tree branches, in hopes that the bird would stay. Not only had I been given a sign and didn't realize it at the time, I began to have a rapore with the bird as well. There was something special and magical going on here and I didn't want to miss one minute of this wonderful thing that was given to me. One day I placed a handful of seed on top of the wooden banister on the front porch. I stood there beside it in what I thought was perfect silence and form. Wishing all the while that the bird would fly from the tree and land there and would trust me to stay there long enough to eat the seeds I had left for it. I would stand for what seem like hours waiting for this miracle to happen and eventually I would get tired and go inside. Once indoors I would position myself so that I could observe the birds movement without it realizing what I was doing. No sooner had I gone inside the house it would fly down from the tree limb it had been perched on and would gracefully land on top of the railing. It would consume my offerings and then proceed to groom itself. What a lovely sight to see. This ritual went on for several days. Until one day all my efforts paid off and I was given another gift. That beautiful bird landed right beside the pile of seeds on top of the banister and acted as if I wasn't even standing there. All the while I knew he was enjoying its breakfast and my company as well.

  I woke up each morning with a renewed love for life. I looked forward to spending time with the bird that seemed to have adopted me as much as I had needed him. He had become a daily visitor and a welcomed one at that. At first I thought the bird stayed around because it had been injured or maybe it was sick and just needed a place to die. But he would always be there waiting for me, eat what I had offered him, and then would fly away. Only to reappear the next day. Little did I know that a lesson was in the making. Some wonderful forces were behind what was happening in my life at that very moment.

  Gradually the bird and I were like family. How else can I explain that he would now fly from the tree and land on the banister and then walk over to where my outstretched hand was filled with seed and eat right out of it. It didn't take long before he would let me stroke him as if he were a pet. He was so incredibly soft and white as pure snow. All except for a small black colored band around its neck. In my eyes it was the most beautiful bird in the whole world and it had picked me to love it. How incredible that a wild creature who was free to come and go as it saw fit, had decided to come into my life and stick around. Maybe a free lunch had something to do with it!

  Over the next few weeks that I had been given to enjoy this gift, the bird had decided to make a nest inside one of my hanging flowerpots. One that had long since seen any flowers in it. I would sit on my porch swing and watch as it would take flight and then land in the yard to find a small piece of dried grass or a twig in which to place inside the pot. I am not quiet sure why I did what I did next, maybe out of instinct. But I bent down and found a twig and offered it to the bird. To my amazement and delight, it took the tiny branch from me and it worked so hard to weave it into a new home for itself. I continued to give the bird what I had found laying on the ground and each time I offered, it would take it from me and would incorporate each piece into its new home. That day I helped build something beautiful, one gesture at a time.

  Now you would think that I would have seen things coming, but I must admit that I didn't. I was so wrapped up enjoying this thing that was going on between me and this wonderful bird. That never in my wildest dreams did I expect another miracle to happen on top of the one that I had already been given. But another miracle is just what I got. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me when I got up that morning and there were two of them sitting on the banister outside, peering into my window. Both of them watching and waiting. It didnít take very long to win over the affection of this new visitor. We made friends rather quickly. And I would like to think that it was me that worked those miracles but I have a strong suspicion that the other bird whispered into its ear and told him what a big sucker I was and how great the free lunches were around this place! Ha... lets face it, I have 'MOMMA' written all over me folks!!

  It was a joy to receive the first bird, but to have two new friends in my life was more than I could ever imagine would be given to me. Little did I know that the first bird was a "she" and not a "he", like I had thought and the second bird was her mate. Thus began the courtship of the two lovebirds on my banister. And I was going to be a grandma soon!!!

  Anticipating the upcoming event at my house was a daily "look and see" search into the flowerpot. Is today the day I would ask? I didn't have long to wait. In people time that is. The day arrived for us all. Four eggs were laid to rest but only three were hatched. I was so sure that Mother Nature would step in and do what she always does in situations like these. In the animal kingdom, survival depends upon good instincts. Why should now be any different? I was certain that she would move her new family and that I wouldn't get the chance to get to know them. Thank goodness I was wrong on that account. One lovely bird had now turned into five wonderful creatures to greet me each morning.

  There was a lot of turmoil going on at that time in my life. It seems as though life itself was playing a lot of jokes on me. The daily struggle to find something positive was a challenge. All the events that we humans go through donít make us special. It's how we choose to deal and react to things that set us apart. Everything that is, is just a test. The point is whether or not we pass them, learn from them, and go on with our lives or stay forever stuck within them. We all are assigned what I call "life lessons". Some of us get more than our share while others don't seem to get enough. I'm sure there is a very good reason for that. God knows what he is doing so who am I to question him. I know that he works some mighty wonderful miracles. I have seen his handy work up close with other folks and in my own life as well. That particular summer he had sent me a handful of miracles that forever changed me and enriched my life. How do I begin to say thank you for what he did for me? I ask that question when I am in prayer. The answer that I receive is to be an example in all that I do and say. How I live my life and how I treat others.

  For all the pleasures and for all the good things that we are given, we are also given the opposite side of that coin, to balance things out I believe. And so it was in this situation. Mother Nature is here for a divine purpose. It doesn't make it any easier to talk about the next chain of events though. Regardless, a new set of life lessons was shown to me. I will start by saying that I have forgiven my neighbor her sin. As far as being able to say that about her cat, is another story altogether. I will say that I like the cat kingdom despite their ways, but deep down I still struggle with what that particular cat did. Letís just say that cat was not in want or need of anything. You could tell it spent most of its days lounging around. It was enormous! Almost looked like a miniature cow or something. What a sight to see when it would struggle out the front doggie door of my neighborsí home. That should tell you something. As a fellow pet owner I believe if you want an animal companion that you should be responsible enough to keep them indoors. Not so in this case, sorry to say.

 One by one that fat cat killed my bird family. He didnít even bother to eat them. He just left a mess of mangled bodies and loose feathers in my side yard. The same exact yard where I first met them was in fact the same yard that became their final resting-place. I wept and grieved each time I would go outside only to discover yet another one killed. My heart was broken and it made me very sad. I had lost all my friends. Needlessly, I blamed myself of course. Wasn't it I who had made them tame in the first place? I had made it so easy for that cat to do what I know comes natural for them otherwise. I would wager that he didn't even break a sweat going after those poor creatures. He was so overweight that he couldn't run even if he wanted to. So if the truth be known the birds probably walked right up to it not realizing the danger. They didn't stand a chance. Needless to say, I hated that cat for a very long time! I hated myself even more. But you know hate is a very powerful and destructive thing. When it sits upon your heart, it hasn't room to let anything else in. Itís like an infection that spreads throughout your entire soul leaving sores and scabs. With wounds that are deep and full of pus. And all you end up with is pure ugliness. There lies the danger.

  Forgiving others is a hard lesson to learn. Forgiving yourself is even harder. So is turning the other cheek and being truly kind to one another. Being humble has itís own true rewards. Tolerance of others is no easy task either, but it can be done. I now know the definition of bittersweet and the circle of life. And like begets like. And so much more...

 When I look back on these memories of a summer not so long ago. I think about all the gifts I received from this encounter with a bird family. Not the sadness or the loss that I once dwelt upon.  A path was shown to me as a direct result of having those wonderful creatures appear in my life. An old skin was shed and a new one was given. The Lord has his ways in which he shows us what we need to know. Some of us do not listen when he reaches out and calls to us. Some of us do. Once called, I would never consider going back to the place where I was before. I look forward to heaven and seeing a loving and forgiving father who took me in and showed me the way. I want to be a good person who does good deeds to please him. I want my days filled with praise for all that he does. Mostly I want to be an example and to be used as a tool for his wonderful works of art. For he truly is the master artist in the grand scheme of things. The greatest gift is knowing that he walks with me every single day. That gives my heart peace and joy that it has never known before.

  Somewhere in this world another one of God's angels has been sent to perch itself in a tree in someoneís front yard, watching and waiting.


 Written by BonnieDunn©1985