Birds Singing in Winter. Quotes and Poetry on our Little Friends (January 2015)

Susan’s Thursday Morning Note January 22, 2015
Birds Singing in Winter – Quotes & Poetry on our Little Friends

Good morning!  Triple strong coffee needed.  Fingers warming up.  Our angel of dawn has again knocked on our door with a beautiful gift of today.  Handed in silence.  With the backdrop of dawn.  This week she has arrived with little friends.  With the sunshine bringing a reprieve of winter a few days this week she has arrived with little birds on her shoulders.  Little brave birds all week singing their winter songs.  Letting us know they truly still are out there, tucked in down, practicing incognito behind the scenes preparing a full encore in only a few weeks.  Giving us the hope that winter is only a season.  A season that holds it’s own beauty.  A season for rest.  For memories.  For darkness.  For silence.  For peace.  For goals.  A season planned with care to give us all a time to reflect.  To learn patience.  The little birds have arrived momentarily to give us their gift of laughter.  Of singing.  For them I write today.  I have found favorite quotes on birds, interesting facts on how they survive the winters, and a poem on birds singing in the winter written over 200 years ago.  Writing for the little friends who chose to stay behind to be our gifts throughout the winter with their little songs.

Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart.  She withers the plant down to the root that she may grow it up again fairer and stronger.  She calls her family together within her inmost home to prepare them for being scattered abroad upon the face of the earth.”  Hugh Macmillan, 1871

“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter.  Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.”  Andrew Wyeth

Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.”  Rabindranath Tagore

I don’t ask for the meaning of the song of a bird or the rising of the sun on a misty morning.  There they are, and they are beautiful.”  Pete Hamill

“It’s impossible to explain creativity.  It’s like asking a bird, ‘How do you fly?’  You just do.”  Eric Jerome Dickey

“Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.”  Victor Hugo

“I never wanted to weigh more heavily on a man than a bird.”  Coco Chanel

“I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.  A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.”  D.H. Lawrence

Oh, bird of my soul, fly away now, For I possess a hundred fortified towers.”  Rumi

“I hope you love birds, too.  It is economical.  It saves going to heaven.”  Emily Dickinson

“A bird does not sing because it has an answer.  It sings because it has a song.”  Chinese Proverb

To a Bird Singing in Winter by John Castillo (1792-1845)

Why, why, little bird, so cheerfully sing,
When all things around look so sad?
The prospect at present, as touching the spring,
Gives cause to be sorry, not glad!

Had April appear’d in loveliest hue,
And made the green meadows look gay,
Thou merrily might’st have mounted thy bough,
And warbled thy minutes away.

But summer’s far off, and still in the copse,
The cold winter’s snow doth descend,
Fierce winds, and sharp frosts, may yet blast thy hopes,
And bring thy sweet song to an end.

By craft of the boys, in bush, or in wood,
Thy foot may be caught in a snare,
And thou whilst seeking a morsel of food,
Be a captive, ere thou art aware.

Why merrily sing, when thou hast no barn,
In which to lay up thy grain?
Why warble thy notes, while unthankful man,
So often is heard to complain?

Why cheerfully sing when there are no flowers,
Or sun in the valley to shine?
’Tis proof that thy prospects are brighter than ours,
Thy heart more contented than mine!

Scientific Facts about how birds survive in winter (take this with a grain of salt – I’m not a scientist, but this is what I’ve found out!):

* Birds Shiver.  That helps get added heat from circulation and muscle movement.

* Birds feet are covered with scales and have very cold-damageable tissue in them.   They are mostly bone and sinew.

*  Birds have Antifreeze (grin).  Some birds have a special adaptation in the circulatory system of their feet whereby blood is circulated between colder outer areas and warmer inner areas more efficiently than might otherwise be the case, to avoid frostbite.

*Birds have oil producing glands that allow them to preen a coating of waterproof onto their feathers to avoid the down coats getting wet.

* Some small birds such as kinglets and chickadees can drop their body temperature and go into controlled hypothermia to save energy.

Thank you for letting me enter your Thursday morning again.  The birds are tucked away again under their down this morning.  Quiet.  But deep inside preparing their beautiful songs for us come spring.  Or, for the real spirited, to come out and sing for us whenever the sun is shining.  Braving the cold.  Believing in the reality of winter having an end.  Winter.  The gift of the year for silence.  For rest.  For darkness.  For growth underneath.  For growth in our souls.  For growth of our minds.  For reflection.  For remembering.  Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart.  Those lines written 130 years ago.  Life is gathering.  Winter.  Reading.  Long night hours.  Soul growth.  Today.  Again the angel has handed us this gift.  The birds gave us their prelude.  Reminding us that winter does end.  Tonight.  Tonight we will have the chance to write words for our epitaph.  The moments of life we will have today but never have again.  The winds blow…time…constantly blowing.  Will we have moments that we notice?  Moments worthy of inscription?  Little arms ungracefully carrying around kittens, little voices reading books to their animals about fire trucks?  Eyes of older ones we loved lighting up because we stopped time and noticed their love?  Voices of those we don’t have in our lives any more whispering to us.  Encouraging us.  Their eyes lighting up in our minds?  Voices on the phone of those we care about?  Will we notice any particular grains as they pass through our sand timers today? Notice particular moments?  Continual gifts.  If we will only notice.  By stopping moments. 

Have a beautiful weekend.  Regardless of what particular movement your song is playing for your life.  Look up to the skies.  Drop (even if mentally) to your knees.  The promise of a peace that passes the understanding of anyone around us will be handed to us.  A promise.  Thank you for coming into our store for your books and gifts.  Our treasure.  This little store.  We’ll have the coffee, the smiles, the peace.  You just enter as soon as you can!  Susan

Latin for this week:
dormire – to sleep (dormant)
aesculus – winter
Septentrio – north wind and bringer of cold winter
solstice – sun stands still
silentium – silence; absence of any sound or noise; stillness
hibernates – to pass winter
cantus – song; a singing; bird-song
quies quietis – rest