The Goldfinch of Promise

One year ago the snow was up to our knees here in the North. Now, snow is gone and the tulips are emerging. Outside of a chance shower here and there, I imagine we are mostly done with the white stuff for this turn around the sun. On the other hand, over the last couple of years we have had last minute, mid-April snow dumps, so when it comes to predicting the weather, my guess is as good as yours or Farmer’s Almanac.

Friday evening as I filled the bird feeders, I noticed the Goldfinches had become substantially brighter during the week. While many of our winged summer residents head south for the winter, the Goldfinch stay. The thing is, in the winter they are harder to recognize because their bright yellow feathers are replaced dull (and safer) brown. The only way to know if they are Goldfinch is by the male’s distinctive black stripes on his wings. Come March, little by little you can see them exchange that light brown, for their vibrant yellow. It is one of my joys of spring.

Saturday I awoke, and Facebook reminded me of a memory, one year ago. I had noticed the feathered change, and made the same comment on exactly the same day last year. It didn’t matter that last year we had two months of winter left and would continue to dig our way out of multiple snows and this year we were in shorts. None of that mattered. Those little Goldfinch remain on their timeline, knowing that spring would soon arrive regardless of the changes going on around them. They continue to follow their inner guidance, even if things outside them don’t look familiar.

For us nothing feels the same as yesterday. What worked yesterday, may not work today, and tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. We are all becoming familiar with that reality. Yet in our uncertainty, there are things that remain the same. Nature is there, holding us in the consistent rhythm of bird returns, the awakening of scurrying animals and the shifting of the earth’s tenderness. It is as if nature holds us tight with consistency as we try to squirm free in our anxiety.

What remains consistent in your circle? Is it family? Your faith tradition? Work? Relationships? Nature? Sit quietly with that which sustains you. Allow the spirit of the wind to swirl around you, breath in the fragrance of cedar, the color of the forsythia, and touch the green shoots as they rise through the snow flattened leaves. Watch for the Goldfinch’s promise of spring warmth and life. Know the final dark days of winter are numbered, and the sun will shine once again.

Watching for what remains consistent,

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