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The Hand of God

The Hand of God

I sit on my three-season porch and gaze. May is a great time to take in the accountability of God’s promise of creation. 

In the very early morning, I wake to hear birds chirping with the cheerful voice of their song. It is not an irritation to my ears but more like a happy breath of fresh air and the beginning of one more day of life. Our front fir tree is heavily loaded with these flying creatures, less than the thick bushes that grow at the end of our yard. They too have various kinds of birds that are busy with family duties. 

They make less noise but make up by flying across the east view of the windows as I watch from my porch. They are beautiful and range from robins, cardinals, blue jays, blue birds, yellow finches, sparrows, and orioles. The leaning dried up bird bath near the porch doesn’t attract birds as it once did. I am unable to go out to fill it anymore. They used to drink and bathe in the water, fussing for space and shaking their wet feathers to dry.  

The Hand of God
The Hand of God

Domestic rabbits used to be friends of my four children. Once they reproduced, me not knowing that Casper and Ralph were lovers when nine tiny naked babies filled the rabbit hutch, I quickly separated them. Ralph looked sad as if he had lost his best friend. We managed to give them all away except for Soot with her black nose and paws. Wild rabbits have always used our backyard and bushes as their home.

Several spring seasons long ago, one rabbit dug a hole close to our porch and filled it with her family of MANY. One day I noticed a circular hat-like clump of grass moving ever so slightly. I had to blink my eyes several times to be sure my eyesight wasn’t failing. When I stepped off the porch and went down to investigate, I lifted the grass and saw tiny baby rabbits stacked on top of each other. Their mother watched me as she nibbled grass from the middle of the yard. Once I left and went back to the porch, she hopped quickly to her nest to check on the safety of her children.

Another time I dared to take two bunnies out of the nest. As I held them tightly, they tried to use their sharp little claws to try and escape. When I put them back, they started to run away and scoot under our neighbors fenced-in yard where mom could not get to them. Crows were waiting to grab them as mom frantically tried to get under the fence. I still remember their loud squeaks as the crows picked them up and flew away.

Squirrels are always running through our backyard and up the trees next door to the north and south of us. We once had huge trees in our yard but cut them down, fearful that they would fall on our house during a bad storm. The squirrels enjoyed them enough to build huge nests that were only noticeable in the winter when the trees were bare. They were boring to me, but at least they came in a range of colors: grey, black, and sometimes white. 

Flowers seem everywhere, both perennials and annuals. People seem to spend much of spring planting and admiring them. I used to enjoy doing the same, but now find it difficult to dig and plant because of the heaviness of all the bags of dirt and large pots of flowers. My second son gave me a large planter filled with colorful flowers and greenery for Mother’s Day that sits on the front stoop of the house. It is enough to satisfy me that spring has sprung.

The Hand of God
The Hand of God

Lastly, I must remark about one of the greatest creatures that used to fly around our house, the butterfly. My eldest son, as a child, used to look for milkweeds to find caterpillars eating their fill of the leaf. He would capture both, place them in a jar, covering it with a lid with airholes. He would keep a close eye to watch for when the caterpillar hung from inside of the lid and started to turn black. He knew it would soon shed its skin and turn into a Monarch. He would open the jar and let this beautiful creature fly away. 

As an adult my son still enjoys this process of watching one of God’s creatures emerge off to the happenings God meant for them. I rarely see butterflies anymore and wonder what happened to stop their life. Could it be the spraying of chemicals on bushes and lawns that cling to repel insects or weeds? My daughter, who lives in Florida, said Monarchs are abundant there in every color.

I love Spring and Our Father in Heaven who created all this beauty just for us. Thank you Lord for your perfect gifts of Nature. 

Mary, Mother of Jesus

Karen Fleming is a longtime companion and friend of St. Paul’s Monastery and is a frequent contributor to St. Paul’s Monastery communications.