Description of birds greeting the day in Rwanda. Bird quotes. (June 2014)

Susan's Thursday morning note June 5, 2014
A Thousand Hills to Heaven: Love, Hope, and a Restaurant in Rwanda.  
Quotes on birds and bird singing.

Good morning!  Watching the earth wake up as I type.  Flowers slowly lifting their eyes.  Little frog hiding behind planter with no energy yet to do his hopping.  A few moments to steal and notice the beauty of what I’m surrounded with.  Little birds singing their songs.  Greeting me with such loyalty each morning.  Regardless of their particular hardships always taking a moment to sing me a note.  A little whose-it in his baseball uniform listening to a singing mouse.  Another gold treasure still asleep.  The angel of dawn has handed me the gift of another beautiful day.  Never a gift I want to take for granted. 

This week I have been reading A Thousand Hills to Heaven: Love, Hope, and a Restaurant in Rwanda.  This book is on the work of a family to help this country heal and sustain itself again after the genocide of 1994.  This book has helped me see the scope of humanity.  The smallness of my world.  The decisions daily in life to affect those around us.  The use of my time.  Decisions.  Life so short.  Again the reminder to keep my focus on years ahead, not only on the moment.  Setting goals.  Helping those I care about set goals.  Looking up and into the eyes of those I meet today.  Giving them a chance to breathe for a moment.  To see a smile.  The following is a beautiful account of an early morning wakening.  The birds greeting humanity and each other.  The early gift of prayers and song.

At four thirty, if you are awake, through the silence you will  just barely hear the day’s first call to prayer from the Muslim section of town, which is perhaps a mile away and around several hills.  It is lovely.  It is lovely for its own sake, and also because the Muslim section of town was protected from the genocide by the people’s refusal to kill and their willingness to protect others – an untold story of the Rwandan genocide.  So it is a good sound to begin the day.  And then the birds.

The prayer awakens the birds.  A few birds have been making simple chirps through the hours, but they are just the night watch. Now arriving, however, are the symphony’s main players.  They begin with a few peeps, twitters, whistles, and caws, as if tuning up.  You might sleep through that, with practice.  But then big leaves and pods, heavy with dew, begin to fall on the roof with leathery thumps.  The guayava fruit, pecked-at-for breakfast by big birds high in the trees, fall like hammer blows on your tin roof – if you have a tin roof, as most do, rich and poor.  If you are yet sleeping, you will now wake to the turacos and other big-beaked, long-tailed, colorful jungle birds as they take their turns with brilliantly loud soprano ululations that rise over this million-bird overture to the new day.  If you have two little daughters and a baby boy, their voices will be next….

The little birds outside my door may seem to have lost their stance in the order of bird awakenings, but for me they still sing their hearts out greeting me each morning.  Little gifts.  Everywhere if we only stop and listen to the silence.  The silence then changes to show us it’s gifts.  Quiet.  Stillness.  Again remembering today we must take the time to notice the individuals grains of sand going through our personal hourglass.  So many grain to go through, but still only one at a time.  Can we focus on the moments?  The gift of today.  Keeping an eternal perspective.  Tonight we will have the chance to write on stone our epitaph.  The writings of how we used the moments of time given to us today.  Will we have words worthy of inscription?  Will we take time to have silence.  To notice the eyes of those we see?  To think about who we desire to be in one year.  Five years.  Ten years.  To make decisions today that help us towards those goals.  Life.  Beautiful regardless of hurts.  So beautiful.  Thank you for letting me come into your Thursday again.  Thank you for coming over to our store and letting us be here.  How much your friendship and encouragement means.  Susan

The soul that is attached to anything however much good there may be in it, will not arrive at the liberty of divine union. For whether it be a strong wire rope or a slender and delicate thread that holds the bird, it matters not, if it really holds it fast; for, until the cord be broken the bird cannot fly.  Saint John of the Cross

Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains to them?  Rose Kennedy
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
You have to believe in happiness, or happiness never comes … Ah, that’s the reason a bird can sing – On his darkest day he believes in spring.  Douglas Malloch
…a new day was starting, the things of the garden were not concerned with our troubles. A blackbird ran across the rose-garden to the lawns in swift, short rushes, stopping now and again to stab at the earth with his yellow beak. A thrush, too, went about his business, and two stout, little wagtails, following one another, and a little cluster of twittering sparrows. A gull poised himself high in the air, silent and alone, and then spread his wings wide and swooped beyond the lawns to the woods and the Happy Valley. These things continued, our worries and anxieties had no power to alter them.  Daphne du Maurier
I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.  Rumi
Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  Matthew 6:26.
How do geese know when to fly to the sun?  Who tells them the seasons?  How do we, humans know when it is time to move on?  As with the migrant birds, so surely with us, there is a voice within if only we would listen to it, that tell us certainly when to go forth into the unknown.  Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

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

That little bird has chosen his shelter. Above it are the stars and the deep heaven of worlds. Yet he is rocking himself to sleep without caring for tomorrow’s lodging, calmly clinging to his little twig, and leaving God to think for him.  Martin Luther
The fish in the water is silent, the animal on the earth is noisy, the bird in the air is singing.  But man has in him the silence of the sea, the noise of the earth and the music of the air.  Rabindranath Tagore

Mary Poppins singing:  Early each day to the steps of St. Paul’s, the little old bird woman comes… In her own special way to the people she calls, come buy my bags full of crumbs. Come feed the little birds, show them you care, and you’ll be glad if you do. Their young ones are hungry, their nests are so bare; all it takes is tuppence from you. Feed the birds, tuppence a bag. Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag… Feed the birds, that’s what she cries, while overhead her birds fill the skies. All around the cathedral the saints and apostles look down as she sells her wares. Although you can’t see it, you know they are smiling each time someone shows that he cares. Though her words are simple and few, listen, listen, she’s calling to you. Feed the birds, tuppence a bag. Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag. Though her words are simple and few, listen, listen she’s calling to you. Feed the birds, tuppence a bag. Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag. 

Latin for this week:
avis –bird
rara avis – a very rare bird
cantus – a song, a singing bird-song, chant

Works Cited:
Ruxin Josh.  A Thousand Hills to Heaven: Love, Hope, and a Restaurant in Rwanda.  New York.  Little, Brown, and Company.  2013.