Since March I’ve been noticing birds. Many birds, some beautiful some ordinary. Cardinals and sparrows singing their songs and nesting in our trees.
I’m certain we’ve had birds in our backyard in years past however I cannot remember ever seeing so many or hearing such an abundance of beautiful songs all day. I’ve mentioned it several times to Brad, and felt in my heart it must have some significance to our neighborhood.
I even began hearing an owl hooting morning and night, although it’s location eluded me. “An owl, in the city?!” I thought and smiled every time I heard him.
In the most recent weeks I’ve spent many mornings outside with Theo tending our south facing, front yard gardens. I observed a change in our streets. Different cars, less traffic and quieter nights. I wanted to believe these were good signs, but anxiety and fear of the “what if’s” still gripped me.
Last Saturday I photographed a romantic wedding of two wonderful people. I sat down in a seat at the edge of the aisle just as the minister began reading from Song of Solomon. I listened in between photographs and quickly realized these words were meant for me. Of course they were there for the bride and groom, but for some reason God intended for me to hear them at that exact moment and to know they were special. Tears welled in my eyes as I listened.
Ah, I hear my lover coming!
He is leaping over the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My lover is like a swift gazelle
or a young stag.
Look, there he is behind the wall,
looking through the window,
peering into the room.
My lover said to me,
“Rise up, my darling!
Come away with me, my fair one!
Look, the winter is past,
and the rains are over and gone.
The flowers are springing up,
the season of singing birds has come,
and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.
The fig trees are forming young fruit,
and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming.
Rise up, my darling!
Come away with me, my fair one!”
It would be impossible for me to explain how much meaning this passage has for me. There are so many things I’ve felt over the years with an appearance in this passage.
We knew the winter was important. It was a time to make way for renewal. “Look, the winter is past,”
Last summer, when I first heard Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zero’s song “All wash out” the lyrics struck me and I felt that rain was significant to the cleansing of our neighborhood. It became a song of comfort to me as we went through the long dry spell of summer. “and the rains are over and gone.”
The verse of that really moved me was “The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.”. We have singing birds! Many singing birds this year! And gardens! Our yard is finally blossoming and growing into something beautiful and useful.
As if God could get any cooler, after the wedding Brad and I were leaving home to pick up the kids and saw three deer at the edge of our neighborhood, leaping in the air and playing as dogs would. We both looked at each other with mouths slightly ajar. We live 2 miles from downtown and I’ve never seen a deer this close to our house. “My lover is like a swift gazelle or a young stag.”
This morning I began to google owls. I wanted to know what kind of owl we had living in our neighborhood and also if owls had any biblical significance. Not only could I not seem to place the call that I’ve been hearing to any one owl, the mention of owls in the Bible seem to have negative significance. With discouragement I kept looking.
Finally, at the bottom of one site I found it. The mourning dove can produce a call that is often mistaken for an owl. I listened to the youtube clip and, yes, that was the friend I’ve been hearing out our window.
I googled “mourning dove bible” and you’ll never believe what showed up first. A link to the second chapter of song of Solomon.
“and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.”
I got goosebumps and started crying. God is here. Living and real. Evil is being defeated and goodness is rising up.