In the Shadow of Migration

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"In the Shadow of Migration" by Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB, for CatholicMom.com

Image: Pigeon Flock, by Life-Of-Pix, pixabay.com, CC0 Public Domain.

I did not see the migrating birds as they flew past, nor did I hear their calls. What I did see was fifty, maybe a hundred, small darting shadows cross over the lawn and my arms. Suddenly I felt heavy in the shadow of birds and my heart longed for home.

Where I live is within the flyway of several species of birds. It’s not unusual in the fall to stop the car when driving along farm lanes and wait on cranes coming in low, legs down, wings cupped, landing easily in marshes or corn fields.

The timing of their migrations are controlled primarily by the changes in sunlight. The day length signals the seasonal movement from the region of spring breeding to the place of wintering rest.

There is an instinctive stirring of such birds to migrate, an internal movement of the spirit towards a home. It is not the same as a journey, which is an irregular and singular event. Migration is done seasonally, aroused by light, and usually follows a path of food along the route.

There is seasonality to my prayer life as well; aroused by The Light my spirit yearns towards an eternal home. It too follows a route of nourishment.

As daylight hours decrease, a faith-filled migration draws me towards the Feast of Christ the King and Advent, and the contemplative resting in the abundance of His gifts. I am just as drawn in a few months, in the lengthening of days, to an active Lent and will long for new life and fresh air in my faith.

Like the flock of little birds that passed overhead, I am heartened by the coming winter—seasonally and temporally—to find rest.

Copyright 2016 Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB

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About Author

Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB is a contemplative lay hermit, author of Cultivating God’s Garden through Lent, A Garden of Visible Prayer: Creating a Personal Sacred Space One Step at a Time, 2nd Edition, and A Catholic Gardener’s Spiritual Almanac. Margaret has a master’s degree in communications, a Certified Greenhouse Grower, Advanced Master Gardener, liturgical garden consultant, and workshop/retreat leader. A freelance writer with a Benedictine spirituality, she blogs at Patheos.

3 Comments

  1. Beautiful! And then there’s the birds that do NOT migrate. Just a few days ago there were chickadees hopping on my front porch railing (where the feeder goes up each year) and every time I came to the window they’d start chirping. I went out to get the mail and they followed me. “Get that feeder up, lady!” is what they are saying. I think they are very lazy–the fields are full of natural feed right now.

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