the wonder of birds


    I came home from writing yesterday to find a small box addressed to me in the mailbox. Inside were four CDs of a band I knew only by name and a note from a wonderfully caring person who talked about what the music of The Innocence Mission had meant to her and how she hoped it would resonate with me. I started with their self-titled record and have yet to get to the second one. The music is haunting, meaningful, and resonant.

    Here are the lyrics to the final cut on the record, “The Wonder of Birds”:

    we keep our hands above the water
    we know that, someday, we will fly away
    with all the wonder of birds
    with all the wonder of birds

    we keep our voices as guarded secrets
    wait for a while
    and we will surely sing
    with all the wonder of birds
    with all the wonder of birds

    we make a sky where we may be
    we build a home with windows to fly through
    windows to fly through

    we learn to dance with broomstick partners
    grace will be ours

    when we will grow our wings
    with all the wonders of birds
    with all the wonders of birds

    Sometimes around sunset, the bay near our house stills and the surface of the water smoothes to mirror the last flames of daylight as the turn to embers on the horizon. There is a medium sized bird, whose name I don’t know – who starts high and dives down, leveling out inches, perhaps centimeters, above the glass surface and glides without moving so much as a feather from one side of our little inlet to the other, pulling up at the last minute and climbing back into the sky, often circling to do it again, perfectly.

    The wonder of birds. Grace will be ours.



    1. When I was in one of the worst times of depression, my aunt took me on a birding trip to Central America (I should say, she didn’t take me because I was depressed, it was sort of coincidental). Anyway, she taught me how to bird, and something about focusing on something else besides my own pain — and something else beautiful — was healing for me, and a toehold to a healed future I could only begin to imagine at that point.

      Also, there’s Emily Dickinson: Hope is a thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all.

      Grace will be ours. Grace abounds.

    2. Poetry as lyrics – how wonderful. I think the best songs sound just as wonderful spoken aloud. There is a power to them.

      Of course, this post reminds me of that old hymn my grandfather loved:
      “Some glad morning when this life is o’er – I’ll fly away…”

    3. I only discovered The Innocence Mission last year and they are easily the ‘most played’ on my iTunes. You must have wonderful friends to get a package in the mail like that!

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