Sparrows in the Snow

A few days ago we were in the midst of a horrific storm, with snow accumulating at over an inch per hour; the storm raged all day and into the night. This was not a routine snowfall. This storm kept all the schools closed; this storm had the police warning to stay off the roads; this storm had the power company sending reminders of how to report outages and what emergency facilities we should have. Dark sky, strong winds, a day to stay indoors and hide from mother nature. My plans for daily walks with our dog, Shadow, were shelved. This was a day to just survive. In late afternoon, just to clear the back door from the excess snow that was close to blocking it from opening, I donned an extra sweater, parka, gloves and fur cap and ventured onto the back deck to face the tempest and clear the snow.

And then I heard it, I heard birds singing. Yes, in the fading light there were sparrows flitting from tree to tree, seemingly oblivious to the pummeling snow. Not just a few sparrows, but more than a dozen, chirping gaily to each other. The scene was uplifting, exciting and inspirational, all at once. What immediately came to me in experiencing this scene were words from a song from my childhood:

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

My beliefs that relate to that song have changed through the years since I was a child, but the words still touch me and still have meaning to me, as I believe the author of those words was inspired similarly. Sparrows live from day to day, the search for food and shelter their only concern, yet they accept life for what it is. Facing a storm is just another challenge and another day. Their lives go on and they do not measure life by surviving storms or by revisiting the past. Their life is always in the now.

I contrast their lives with mine and there is a wide disparity. The sparrow has nothing but the will to live; I have so much, yet I sometimes want more. What need have I of more than a roof overhead, loving companionship, and daily sustenance — all beyond the sparrow’s world.

As I continued to listen to the sparrows, I forgot about the wind and snow; I forgot about the cold; these sparrows were reminding me of self-reliance, of trust, of loving and facing each day. They were teachers all. When I reentered our house, my view had changed: life is how you face it and this was just a little snowfall.