Shaking out the cobwebs with an Ash Wednesday meditation.
In my driveway, earlier today, when I left my car after a grocery trip, I heard an uproarious squawking. I looked up and spotted the hawk that’s been frequenting our neighborhood perched high in my neighbor’s oak tree. A few limbs over, a smaller bird — I could only make out its silhouette — was really letting the hawk have it.
The hawk, which I believe to be a young Red-tail (I always get so excited when I get a good look at it that I go starry-eyed and can’t trust my memory’s details) gave up whatever game he was on, ascended, circled a few times, and went on out of sight.
A lot of people are remembering today that we are dust and to dust we shall return. We remember our troubles and start the long journey to the cross. I didn’t have ashes pressed into my forehead this year. Instead, I’ve felt that for almost 12 months, the world has pressed into me — reminding me of my mortality, my smallness. I was planning to observe Ash Wednesday somehow, but wasn’t sure how. Then —
there was that hawk.
Later in the day, I read in Matthew, Jesus saying, “do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.”
Is life not more than my little comings and goings? Look at the birds; see the sermon being lived there?
This year the imposition was that hawk circling slowly above some songbird, the sun reflecting off of the underside of his wings, and me, by some grace, witnessing one little moment that had nothing to do with me or humanity but was still fully of glory and hope and, I believe, the Lord of Creation all tangled up in it. The hope of the cross written right there in the sky.