I stand facing the seemingly endless stage in front of me. I am a simple spectator, wrought with tense expectation. The show promises to be a good one. I should know. I've seen it here before.
My anticipations fluctuate with every breath of air that brushes the tawny reeds. I stand still, breathlessly expecting the grand overture to begin. The next moment I'm in la-la land again, thinking about everything but the spectacle I came to be privy to.
The wait is forever. Not that it seems like forever; it is forever. I pace the empty auditorium, only to find it less vacant than I originally suspected. There's a bluebird, sending his constant "cheer-up" message my way.
"No, I don't have to cheer up!" I shout. "Get off my shoulder, old man!"
That'll show him.
From the west wing comes a big flock of meadowlarks; golden drops of technicolor sunshine just waiting for Judy Garland to start singing. But even these bright, cheery creatures are no consolation for the absence of the transcendent.
The transcendent. It keeps me going. It reminds me every time I walk outside that I am engaging a natural world that showcases the collision of the physical and the spiritual.
There is something beyond this world. I feel it in my bones, every time I lift my binoculars heavenward to look at a bird in flight.
Every time I watch a butterfly wing past, stopping to nectar.
Every time I hear the songs of warblers, singing in the distance of my memory.
These are the moments I know that I know that we are not alone.
"RRRRR" That strangely familiar trill ripples down my spine, ripping me from my thoughts.
There are the players this expectant spectator has longed to see. Flying high above the marsh are sixteen large gray birds. Their wing beat so dreamlike, Debussy would turn green with envy.
Their call so ancient, so mysterious, it would awaken atavistic longings in the most modern soul.
They are Sandhill Cranes. Just sixteen birds; a mere pittance compared to the 500,000 that invade Nebraska every spring. But still, they are sufficient to send my imagination whirling into the distant past. One bird alone could send a spirit soaring.
I watch the majestic forms fly over my head, giving calls I hear more with my heart than with my ears. I watch as they sail out of sight, only to leave a longing for one more look.
"There must be more than this..." I mutter. The last glimpse of their imperial form confirms this notion.
I leave the theater, amazed, entranced, and wanting more.
"Cheer-up" intones the bluebird on my way out.
"All right" I concede. "Have it your way."
I'm sharing this post with Spiritual Sundays!
Photo by Jeff White