Over the years, my neighbors and I have planted lots of trees on the block, and because the windows are open in our attic bedroom these spring days, the first sounds that wake us in the morning are the many birds that have found homes, or resting places at least, in the trees. Far better than any alarm clock, the birds are an invitation. Thomas Merton explains this better than I when he writes:
"The first chirps of the waking day birds mark the "point vierge" [the virgin point] of the dawn under a sky as yet without real light, a moment of awe and inexpressible innocence, when the Father in perfect silence opens their eyes. They begin to speak to Him, not
with fluent song, but with an awakening question that is their dawn
state, their state at the "point vierge." Their condition asks if it
is time for them to "be." He answers "Yes." Then, they one by one
wake up, and become birds. They manifest themselves as birds,
beginning to sing. Presently they will be fully themselves, and will
Here is an unspeakable secret: paradise is all around us and we do
not understand. It is wide open. The sword is taken away, but we do
not know it: we are off "one to his farm and another to his
merchandise." Lights on. Clocks ticking. Thermostats working. Stoves
cooking. Electric shavers filling radios with static. "Wisdom," cries
the dawn deacon, but we do not attend."
Paradise is all around and we do not understand. Jesus said it this way: "they have eyes but they don't see - they have ears but they don't hear." Senseless is what we become when we stop listening to the rhythm of creation, stop seeing the fresh growth on the fir or cedar, stop hearing the sounds of the songbird, stop giving thanks for it all. The doxology of the spring calls us out into the world, both to celebrate and serve it. It's a doxology of light, hope, celebration. Are we listening to the invitation; really listening?