Editor’s note: DCSC volunteer Hannah reflects on how the birds of Michigan remind her of peace and love in times of unrest in our world. 

Amidst the stillness of looking out my window, I have observed Robins dancing about and playful Bluebirds. I have heard the sweet hum of a Chickadee and the clanging of a Red-bellied Woodpecker against the chimney in search of a mate. What do these birds have to teach us about searching for goodness, peace, and love during a time of chaos, despair, and sadness?

According to “Birds of Michigan”, a field guide by Stan Tekiela, I discovered that Morning Doves are known for creating flimsy nests. While two Robins began constructing a nest in a tree out front, a Dove lurked nearby. The next day, the Dove was in the Robins nest! At first I thought how rude this Dove stole this nest. I began thinking though, what if the immense kindness we are seeing in the world right now- sharing of toilet paper, an outpouring of donated protective gear, and new connections among neighbors- always surrounded us through the teachings of the birds? I believe the Robin built the nest knowing it had a talent to be shared with the Dove. What is usually a chaotic nesting season for Doves became less so through the simple goodness of the Robin and their interconnectedness.

Bluebirds have magnificent blue feathers that remind me of the blue sky on the frequent cloudy days. They flutter from tree to tree, finding rest on branches varying in sturdiness, often in the company of one another. From watching their way of being, especially among their despair of the ongoing winter weather, I have learned the importance of finding peace in simple delights. For me this includes: a warm cup of tea, a deep conversation with a friend, a bowl of peanut butter ice cream, sending a letter, and reading in the sun. While they may not share in these particular delights (imagine a bird sipping a cup of tea! Oh such a thought is another delight!), the bluebirds show me how to access peace while in a space of despair. 

For about a two-week span, a Red-bellied Woodpecker began each day looking for love and waking my family in the process. At first, this was a frustration, but then developed into a genuine interest. Has he found his love? Oh look, there are three female Woodpeckers out back–could one be his potential mate? He would begin each morning with a sense of hope and belief in love that coexisted with the sadness of his solitude. As I continue to be physically distant from people who are dear to me, the Red-bellied Woodpecker demonstrates to me the beauty and patience of loving, even from afar. 

My feathered friends express to me that in chaos, goodness is still present. That in despair, peace can still be found. That it is okay to be sad and to love deeply, simultaneously. They reveal the freedom of being. The freedom to feel what we are feeling. The freedom for our soul to sing its unique song. The freedom to just be, whatever that may look like right now.

Reflection Questions: Where are you finding goodness among chaos? How are you cultivating peace amidst despair? In what ways can you love deeply, amid the sadness?