Creeping Things and Flying Birds

Monday in Easter Week
April 9, 2012

by Marjorie George

Psalm 148:3-10
Praise the Lord:
3 Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars!

4 Praise him, you highest heavens,
   and you waters above the heavens!

5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
   for he commanded and they were created.

6 He established them for ever and ever;
   he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.

7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
   you sea monsters and all deeps,

8 fire and hail, snow and frost,
   stormy wind fulfilling his command!

9 Mountains and all hills,
   fruit trees and all cedars!

10 Wild animals and all cattle,
   creeping things and flying birds!


It is Easter morning, just after day break, and my backyard is all a-bustle. The squirrel is at the feeder, wrestling with an ear of corn. He maneuvers his little face through the chicken wire that holds the corn in place, plucks off a kernel with his teeth, then sits back on his haunches, nibbling on the kernel that he holds in both paws. I will find empty corn cobs on the ground later today, stripped of every morsel.

During the winter he is likely to grab a kernel then scamper down the tree and across the yard to one of my big terra cotta pots, where he buries the corn in the rich mulch that protects the sleeping plant. Throughout the next spring, as my plants emerge from their winter nap, green foreign stalks will also shoot up. When I pull them from the dirt, I find a corn kernel at the root. Silly squirrel. 

At the bird feeder this morning, the wrens jockey for position at the rim, crowding in, pushing each other off, burying their beaks in the abundant feed. Seed flies everywhere, falling to the ground like rain, where the bigger birds – the doves and the grackles – peck, peck, peck the ground, eating vociferously. (The crumbs falling from the table?)

Around the garden, the yellow long-stemmed bulbines and the mound of tiny-petaled white pentas, and the thick, creeping lantana are greeting the day. The morning dew glistens on their leaves and stems. At the fountain, more birds are washing down breakfast with a drink of water, and a big grackle is taking his morning bath, dipping his whole body into the water then shaking it off in an elaborate dance of feathers and spray and clucking about.

It is Easter morning. Do the creatures, and the creation, know? On that first Easter morning, did not all of creation sing in awe of this new thing? For resurrection is not something old reworked; it is something utterly new. Each blade of grass is somehow transformed, each tree leaf created anew. Nothing is the same as it was, and the creation in my backyard is the beneficiary all these thousands of years later.

“The whole universe is God’s tongue speaking,” says Steven Chase in Nature as Spiritual Practice. On this day, the language is that of praise; my joy is that I get to participate, right here in my own backyard.

 Marjorie George is editor of ReflectionsOnline and Reflections magazine. Reach her at or leave a comment below.





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