Hiking a favored path toward dusk one fall day, I trust the quiet breeze, and the gentle rustle of the yellowing maple leaves will lift my spirit. The shifting shadows that surround mirror my inner turbulence.
The weight of thoughts slow my stride. Suddenly I sense a gentle brush against my shoulder. I glance down to see a large feather settle on the woodland carpet beneath my feet.
I look above into the leafy canopy hoping to catch sight of the bird that has parted with the feather but the foliage is impenetrable.
Kneeling, I lift it recognizing a red-tailed hawk feather. It is perfection, hints of red amid the brown ending in pale downy fluff just above the quill point. It warms my soul. How could I stay downcast in the presence of such beauty? Holding it aloft, I give thanks for the exquisite gift.
The calendar and temperature suggest otherwise, but my spring begins when the first flock of robins descend on the tree outside my dining room window. They arrive in large numbers to retrieve the red berries that just a week ago were encased in ice.
The Philodendron on the north facing windowsill I curated all winter also sense a change – their leaves display an aliveness that short winter days and the dryness of furnace heat had stifled.
The earth emits a musky odor as plants and creatures stir underneath pushing up toward the light. Leaves begin to take flight in the March wind uncovering new growth throughout my yard.