(Jan 6, 2013) 12th night: A star shone in the night sky, signaling a king had been born. Three men traveled and found the king to be a baby, in a manger. It's a pretty big deal in the Catholic faith and I didn't learn about it until later in the evening.
Earlier in the day, I made my way to my garden with the sun on my shoulders and back of my legs. Yes, I was wearing shorts in January as the temp was supposed to be in the 70s for the day.
Before I reached the garden, I heard a Bewick's wren chit chit chitin' in the neighbor's palm trees. Wrens were one of the first birds I identified when we moved here almost 16 years ago. They are talkers and underfoot all of the time. I once read that early settlers would cut a small hole in the upper corner of their front door so that wrens could come and go. The tiny birds were thought to bring luck, and in those days, luck was a hot commodity.
I opened the gate and jerked it out of the clutches of the dormant grape vines. Still singing, the wren flew to the bare vines nearby. I stopped and took a deep breath, closed my eyes and took another deep cleansing breath. My shoulders relaxed all the way down my back to my toes.
It's truly winter--the only scents on the air are decayed leaves and the earth--a rich, warm, brown smell. The remaining leaves on trees chorus on slight breezes while back yard birds call in the distance.
I find my peace here--outside. I am refueled and refilled. My head is cleared and my sense of direction restored. No matter the location, whether in my own back yard, pasture, or beach, my spirit is elevated.
Slowly I opened my eyes. The soil's sleep is apparent in the garden. Brown stalks of perennial plants stand as reminders of past seasons. The only leaves are that of salvias and herbs. Even the iris foliage is slowly going dormant.
The wren was on the arbor, on top of the vines. He sang a few more bars then flew down into the vines and began to preen and stretch. I stood, transfixed, and watched.
While there was no bright shining star in the night sky and there was no newborn king lying in a manger, this epiphany was no less significant in its majesty. It doesn't matter your faith, religion, or belief. It's in the opening of ones heart and truly feeling; in the resulting stillness, truly listening; and in that moment of awareness, truly understanding.