Sitting at my mom's desk in her room just before 9:00 a.m. this December morning, the view is breathtaking. There is just a light dusting of snow. The bay area is drier then usual with a thin coat of ice across the mid-section and towards the edges on both sides. In one spot the water flows towards the road in a stream. A ship goes by in the channel on the horizon. The sunlight touches the tree tops and the roofs of the boat houses that line the little bay. The flags on one blow in the gentle breeze.
I can see all kinds of birds but I cannot hear them behind the glass panes of the window. I can however, hear the distant rumble of the shot guns of local hunters. These birds, however, don't show any sign of alarm.
As I look out on this scene toward a bush full of birds one catches my eye, a beautiful male cardinal crimson coloured like the remaining foliage on the bush it sits in. At that moment, unexpectedly, I release a soft cry. I could feel my father's presence. He loved birds and these were his birds.
I don't believe in ghosts but I would like to believe in the possibility that those who are no longer in physical form could somehow communicate with us if we were open to them. I know I felt my father's presence the moment I saw the red cardinal and it tugged at my heart in a longing kind of way.
Then a little chickadee landed on the brickwork just outside the window where I sat. It had a slight yellow tinge to it with black along the tips of it's wings. I am not sure it was a chickadee. I thought I would check in my Dad's bird book later. Was that another gift from my father? This perch where I sat undetected watching all the activity of the birds, squirrels, boats, wind, water and open sky felt reassuring, like I had not lost my father after all. I felt tender hearted and grateful.
At the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto I attended an exhibit called Mystical Landscapes. The artists were masters from the nineteenth century. The exhibit included Monet's Water Lilies, Van Gogh's Starry Night and told the story of the relationship between their experience of spirituality and nature. On that morning I felt like I understood, from an intuitive place, the relationship between these things. Apparently this is an old, well explored, theme.