My small yard is laden with blooms and vegetables of many kinds. I continue to try my best to keep it as desert friendly as possible, while also allowing myself the deep pleasures of seeing lovely blooms year long from the windows where I work. I have a tall shepherd’s hook which holds a beautiful bird feeder for suet. I chose the suet as an affordable manner in which to feed and enjoy the incessant company of the many birds (and especially the colorful finches) that visit. I love awakening to their chirping conversations and frequently wish I knew their language to fully participate. I wonder what exactly they are singing and chirping about with such exhuberance. I think they hold some secret wisdom I am yet to fully discover.
What I have noticed is that if I want to keep this feeder full for them at all times, it is not nearly as affordable as I intended. They can effortlessly empty it in less than a day. So, a while back, I had a conversation with them. I told them I will fill it only twice a week in warmer weather when they are able to easily find food. Twice a week equates to about $12 a month in suet. That’s reasonable on my budget. And that’s reasonable for them one would imagine. They perch along the top of the wall calling to me “the feeder is empty”. They wait. And they wait. And then they disappear (sometimes for days) until I fill it again and quickly I become the favorite feeding and visiting arena once more. Where do they go and do they really wait I wonder? They surely lose no time in noticing when I fill it again each time.
Today, while noticing the empty feeder and wall equally empty of visitors I reflect upon this. How often, I ask myself, do I too simply look for the “quick and easy” feed? How often and long do I wait for someone else to simply give me food? Do I really fully appreciate those places/people where I am effortlessly fed and delighted with conversation? And when it is not readily available, do I disappear looking for another similarly effortless experience to simply offer it to me? Or, do I then create my own delightful experience? Or, decide it is time for me to offer to another? Am I willing to sit quietly for awhile, and feed myself through the silence and quiet? Can I trust that I need no “other” to “put out the food”? It is an immense pleasure when it is so readily available, and yet there is a larger circle at work I believe. I believe there is a circle of both contribution and of receiving. Both are equal in value and in joy. And, both truly feed. I can bet those birds don’t waste any time waiting simply for “me” to feed them. I imagine they simply fly about taking where it is available, discovering many other places to find it, and perching and singing peacefully in-between. I imagine they are happy when my feeder is full and happy when it is empty as well.
Sometimes we are so easily seduced into looking for the quick fix. The quick meal. The quick company. The quick distraction. And so today I am reminded of the nourishing gifts of slowing down….of taking a few minutes to press the pause button and simply “sit quietly” again to refuel. I am fortunate to feel confident there will be food available when I need it (not so with much of our world). And, I am fortunate to have the freedom to choose not to become a “quick” anything. I can follow my own inner clock and allow pleasures to be offered exactly at the perfect time. And, I can offer pleasures to others as well. And…some days, I can relish in a few minutes to simply sit and listen. To be still. To realize I am perhaps already quite full.