Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Our Ducks are Back! (Musings of Spring)

It has become my true harbinger of Spring ... when my ducks come back to our yard! For the last 3 or 4 years, our yard and bird feeding area has been a welcoming place for the return of a pair of mallards. I can't for sure tell if they're the same ones, but I do know when I moved my feeders from the side of the house to the back of the house they found them ... and they are the only 2 ducks that come each year around this time and visit every day. So I call them "our ducks".

Our Cute Ducks

To rewind a bit and share why this is so special to me, when we first moved into our home, (a condo with a sparse yard which is close to a 4-lane road), I didn't have a lot of hope for viewing wildlife here. Yet I did pray that the Lord would bless our little yard and allow it to be home for any critter he would choose. Over the past 8 years here with our little condo yard, we've been blessed to see so many different creatures. They've included a wild turkey who once visited our feeder, a ground hog that made a temporary home in our rock wall, several litters of 13-striped ground squirrels and chipmunks that grew up here, a raccoon who ransacked our feeders a few times, a couple gray squirrels and various birds like sparrows, grackles, chickadees, mourning doves, a pair of resident cardinals, a robin pair, a few blue jays, house finches, an occasional goldfinch or two and the Cooper's Hawk who comes to hunt them. Yet the ducks remain my favorite. They come at the end of March and visit every day, and are usually gone by May. Momma duck loves just sitting in my bird bath, which is just a giant plant saucer I leave right on the ground and fill with water.

Our Backyard Critters

This time of year is such a special time for me. I love watching the birds flying around with straw in their beaks as they bustle about making their nests. Once the baby birds come, I love watching the parents feed their fledglings and see them learning to fly as they hop around the small back yard. I love watching the baby ground squirrels as they wrestle around and play near the rock wall which is their home.

I love taking rides out in the country and visiting the state parks nearby. This weekend was our first trip out to the state parks in the area and we enjoyed a lovely ride out in the country. I love seeing the rolling hills, the open farmland interspersed with swaths of trees, fields dotted with cows. The smells, the sights, the sounds are such a comfort as our little corner of the world is warming up and new life abounds. It also means I'm out prepping our garden; cleaning out the flower bed, pruning, preparing to plant.

I love the deeper meaning for me, of how the Lord working in my life is like this. He seeks out the hardened areas of my heart, the places that need weeding out like ugly attitudes, bitterness, selfish tendencies and he brings light and warmth into those places encouraging me to let him in to refurbish and refine me. It's a season that I like to take time to pause and reflect, not only to enjoy what's happening in nature but to look within to work in the garden of my own heart. April 22nd is the anniversary of my adult baptism in 2001, and I like to celebrate every year in this way. We're several months out from the new year and it's a good time to take stock again of what ways the Lord wants my garden of life to grow.

Recently, we had a speaker at our mom's group who talked about taking time with the Lord every day. She encouraged us to learn our pathways to God. She was inspired by a book she read called Sacred Pathways (Discover Your Soul's Path to God) by Gary Thomas. He talks about the various ways we connect best with God. For some it is through nature, some through group study, some through worship, etc. This really resonated with me. For me, nature is the most powerful way that I connect with the Lord. Being out in his creation, enjoying nature just renews and fills my spirit. What is your favorite pathway to God?


tea said...

It's so neat that the ducks come back every year. That is something special! It is so nice to be able to watch all that God does in bringing everything to life. I enjoyed your pictures! :)

Lovin' Life said...

How special that the ducks come back every year. It sounds like you have some wonderful wildlife there. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

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