It’s evening. The day is slowly folding up its wings and melting into the approaching stillness of night. Sometimes when there are clouds and moisture in the air, the light becomes rosy, followed by a glorious gold filling the sky like a fiery furnace. I am continually awed by the magnificence of this burnishing glow that God paints in the sky at sunset. Such fireworks are short-lived, so it’s best to pull over in your car or stand in awe in your backyard and just enjoy the show.
Every night is different, and each night is special. Sometimes the evening is so still I can hear the finches breaking the hulled sunflower seeds between their beaks. In the garden, the stillness falls with the light. The brown thrasher takes his daily ritual of dunking and splashing in the cobalt blue bird bath and flies off to dry his wings and face. The smaller birds come to take their final sips of water.
There is a set time each night when the light has faded to such a point that the birds stop coming to the feeder. Suddenly the chatter of the goldfinches has ceased and only the “drink your tea” of the towhees comes from deep in the woods. Even the characteristic buzz of the hummingbird zooming across the garden ceases. His daylight calendar seems to close just a wee bit later than his other feathered friends.
Some nights there is crescendo of bird chatter as the last rays of sun slip behind the treetops. The mockingbird has a song contest with the phoebe. The robins warble their evening songs. And somewhere in the fading light the crickets strike up their chorus.
The bees are still busy gathering pollen from the lamb’s ear stalks. Each one looks a bit like a lamb’s face. There seems to be an endless supply of nectar on these flowers. A slight breeze stirs the fronds of the miniature flowers that adorn the coral bells. In the early morning, dew clusters like diamonds on these blossoms which are now gently stirring with the evening breeze.
Sometimes it is so still I can hear my pup sigh. Other times, she gets bored with sleeping and wants to stalk the squirrels that forage below the feeder. She pokes at the gate in front of the screen with her nose hoping to get past its barrier. Soon bored with that, she makes the rounds of the porch touching everything with her nose making it move or produce a sound. She rocks the spout of the watering can and threatens to topple the rabbit that sits by a planter. I can often tell when it’s time for dinner as she pokes everything she can find with her nose just enough to please her and get my attention. I find her means of entertainment charming.
A stronger breeze now passes through the garden, ruffling the leaves of each plant in a slightly different manner. I see it enter the garden, touch the large flower heads of the hydrangea, flutter the petals of the delicate blue balloon flowers, brush the taller edges of the boxwood and pass across the leaves of the columbine. I don’t know where the breeze has come from or where it’s going. Like the flowers, I just enjoy its gentle caress across my face.
I enjoy every manifestation of God’s light. In the morning I love the stillness and growing light, its gentleness soothing my soul. Sometimes in winter, the dawn is as vibrant as the sunset when a rainstorm is working its way through the sky.
But I also love watching night fall, the end of the day bird song and the peaceful stillness that envelopes me like a soft blanket. Occasionally I stand in the afterglow of the sunset and watch how the night erases the light. But more often I retreat to my porch where I can watch the remaining bird activity and fading light. I am blessed in the peacefulness.
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
John 3:8 NIV