This week we are with the poetry of Todd Davis, a contemporary poet from the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania.
Today’s Bible reading
Read Genesis 1
And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day. (verses 23-25)
More thoughts for meditation
A friend’s son has a head of bird song, of bird calls
full of hunger and the primal joy that wells into a cry
at the back of the throat. If you wonder, no, this isn’t
metaphor. Even his mother can tell you
where a green-throated warbler hides in the leaves,
or how the great crested flycatcher roosts in an oak.
What she knows she learned in a classroom while he
glided from the womb with lips pursed. A life list
is something that follows no matter where you perch,
and the number of birds that flock behind him
could block out the sun. He studies flyways, suffers
fall and spring migrations, scowls at his useless arms
in frustration. Once in September, hiking an abandoned
logging road in a narrow ravine, he held up his hand,
quieted us so we might hear the Kentucky warbler
passing over head. All we heard was the sound
of the stream below, until he moved his fingers,
as if stitching a song in the air, tracing the beats
with each lilting note, wedding us to earth
as the bird winged south.
— from Winterkill by Todd Davis, 2016
A “life list” is a birder’s term for all the birds they have identified in their life. This man is so ornithological the birds on his list would block the sun. “Every winged bird according to its kind.” Like an echo of Adam, he knows the names of all the named.
Who raises their fingers to trace the notes for you? Where is Adam stitching notes out of your sky?
Of course, Jesus is our Second Adam, who came to stop in the ravine and help us hear above the noise, but he has sent-ones like this birding son who can show us more. The New Creation Jesus brings could have a “life list”, too. Primal joy resides in ordinary humans who are sent by Jesus to help us listen and hear, look and see.
Suggestions for action
It’s the fifth day of the week, let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky!
- Look at a bird and learn or say it’s name. “Each according to its kind.”
- Call or text someone to acknowledge the guidance they give you. “You are a God Sent — no really, you are.”
Today is Hildegard of Bingen Day!. She’s an brilliant example who was very unusual for her time. Meet her at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body.