We've endured a spate of unseasonably cold and dreary weather here in Nebraska. I notice when the weather turns foul my spirits do, too. Clouds roll in, blanketing my soul with heaviness. I feel like I've strapped a set of ankle weights to my chest.
I dig fleece pajama pants from the cedar chest where I'd optimistically folded them two weeks ago. Flip flops sit untouched in the shoe basket as I pull suede clogs from the bottom, pebbles raining onto the kitchen floor like gritty hail. I switch the thermostat to heat and lean against the kitchen sink, hands in warm cascade.
Outside the steamed window, tulip petals drip withered and soggy onto dank ground. The petals lay shriveled like husks, blanketing the dirt in decay while headless stalks sway. A gust blows hard and cold, rattling windows and clanging the chimes wildly in the magnolia tree. I dash outdoors, pluck the incessant racket from the tree and lay the Capri shells silent on patio cement.
"Come look out the window; I want to show you something," Brad cajoles me into the sunroom. I don't care about whatever it is that lies outside the pane, but I wipe my hands on checkered dish towel anyway.
"Look," he says, pointing at the top of the bush outside the glass. "It's a nest. And I saw an egg in it."
I climb onto the arm of the chair and lean forward, fingers splayed on pane. Twigs scrape the outside of the glass like nails on a chalkboard. I crane closer, breath fogging the window dewy.
Later, even though the wind still gusts fierce, I drag the wooden step ladder from the garage and across the front law, prop it close to the fence and climb to the highest rung. I rest one foot atop the picket slats and lean in, parting emerald curtain.
All my weight rests on one leg propped atop a rickety fence. Knee trembling, I lean farther into the thicket.
They've woven oak seed tendrils and bits of birch bark amongst the pine needles and twigs, and within this bowl sit the eggs, two of them speckled pinkish-blue, the colors of babies on the way. Cardinal eggs, we discover later when we spot the female nestled in.
I look for a long time at those two eggs, despite shaking knee, despite wind whistling chill beneath my sweater and straight up my back.
I snap a few pictures, leaning in as close as I dare, and startle a bit when Rowan's friend, squinting up from the bottom of the ladder, asks, "What are you doing?" "Taking pictures of a bird's nest," I explain matter-of-factly, as if it's perfectly ordinary that I'm perched half in a shrub in my fleece pajama pants.
I take one more picture before I let the curtain fold gently around the nest in green embrace. And then I step rung by rung back down to the lawn.
Where have you seen God's handiwork this week? It never ceases to amaze me how much I see in my own backyard!