Watching birds has always brought me joy and relaxation. I’m not in a “bird-watching” club, and I don’t spend hours searching for particular sightings – though it’s a great hobby for many. I just enjoy stopping my busy routines when I spot a bird of interest, and watching.
Yesterday as I was sitting on the patio beside my camper, I noticed a pair of mourning doves who are frequenting the ground beneath my bird feeder. They intriqued me, so I sat quietly, observing their behavior. I realized that I was in the moment – enjoying the now.
Enjoying the Now
My memories of a similar experience quickly transported me back to a time almost 18 years ago in Troy, Tennessee when I watched a pair of Mourning Doves from my kitchen window. Each taking turns, they faithfully sat on that nest, day after day. Rain or glaring sun, the nest was protected. Each evening I had gone out quietly to see if there were any little baby birds – but each time I saw only the sleek gray feathery body nestled down deep in the nest. The nest was safely cradled in the hollow of an old, old apple tree.
Neighbors Wanted to Cut Down the Tree
Our neighbors had wanted to cut down the whole tree because they said it was a nuisance with all the rotting apples falling to the ground each year. And so, we had given them permission to cut it down. It turned out they didn’t have the tools they needed to cut it down completely, so they just cut off all the branches and left an ugly old 12 foot “stump”.
When spring came they wanted to cut it the rest of the way down, but I discovered just a tiny bit of life and decided to keep it. We agreed to wait it out one season until all the other trees had leafed out, and then if the tree was truly dead, we’d take it down.
As the warm weather came, that old stump greened out and became very beautiful in its own way. One morning as I was looking from the kitchen window, I discovered the Mourning Doves. I began watching their activities and contemplating why they were called “mourning” dove. I used to think of them as a “Morning Dove, but this confused me because the sad song was sung each evening. I began to wonder why God had given them such a sad song to sing each day. Were they somehow actually sad?
Now this is where non-nature lovers may ask about my sanity, but that’s okay. I decided to go out into the yard to sit next to the tree, and speak to the dove. I explained my admiration for them in taking such good care of the pair of eggs. I bragged on their beauty and tenacity in caring for the nest. At one point she cocked her head ever so slightly and blinked her eyes. Then she just sat there listening as I talked.
Another day as I was washing my dishes, I saw that the nest was still occupied – perhaps the changing of the guard had occurred while I was sleeping – but the nest was never left unprotected. I had just been thinking about how boring and restless I was with the ordinariness of my daily routines, when I suddenly thought about their routine. Either of them could fly off into the air, “free as a bird” any time they pleased, yet there they were, trustworthy as clockwork, day in and day out, taking care of the nest. Suddenly I had the urge to go out and sit under the apple tree and read her a story. I know – about now you’ve decide that I must be looney. Hold that thought till the end.
Maybe that is the way God desires for me to enjoy the everyday things that He places in my life. Perhaps I am to embrace the moment, live in the NOW, and rejoice with His creation. It seemed logical to me. The dishes could wait; the laundry would be there later. What a neat idea; me – reading a story to a bird. So that is exactly what I did.
Today, all these years later, I’m not reading to my Mourning Doves. I’m not talking to them. I’m not studying them. I’m just living in the moment- enjoying watching them, embracing the right NOW and glad to be alive this very moment in my Fathers wonderful world. What an enjoyable and refreshing place in time to be; the now! My mother often quoted a phrase by Francis Gray. “Today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well therefore to this day.” Today, I choose to live – right NOW.
So here’s the question, are you enjoying the NOW? What have you done that may seem foolish to others, but brought you immense joy? I’d love to hear.