My dad and I played a game every winter.
Who would see the first robin?

Dad knew the robin was the harbinger of spring, the forerunner announcing that the bleak, cold days of winter would end.

Better days were coming.

In early years of playing this game, Dad always won.

As I grew, my competitive side kicked in, as Dad knew it would.
I’d start watching for robins right after Christmas.
I knew it was too early.
But I looked anyway. I wanted to be the first to see the red-breasted song bird.
And I kept looking as Michigan winters plodded on.

Michigan Winters are great!

Did I hear someone groan, out there?

Okay, okay.
Michigan Winters might elbow into Spring’s time slot.

Okay, sometimes Michigan can skip right over Spring

and slide through Summer

with us jamming both feet on the brakes before we
skid past Fall

and come crashing right back into Winter before we’re ready.

I know. I know.
Sometimes one might long for those boring weather forecasts of: sunny, high of 80, today, tomorrow, and every day this week, month….

I will admit that’s a tempting change from Michigan…

But Michigan weather and seasons do have their benefits:

  • You always have something to talk about, weather is always a great conversation starter
  • It keeps our brains sharp, having to plan what accessories we’ll need before leaving the house….
    Shorts or long johns? Coats or sunscreen? Boots or sandals? Hat, gloves, scarves, or swimsuits? Shovels, umbrellas, or ice skates?

Admittedly, winter is the most challenging season to get through in Michigan.
Dad knew this.

Like life, winter seasons aren’t always fun.
It’s tough and seemingly unending.

That’s why Dad and I eagerly watched the leaden skies and leafless trees for a glimpse of the red-breasted bird.
Once sighted, we knew it wasn’t long before the robin’s song would echo before the dawn through the tops of budding trees.
Their warbling voices cheering us into spring and a new cycle of life.

Through example, Dad taught me to keep a sharp lookout for these harbingers of hope.
Not only in nature’s seasons, but along life’s way.
Harbingers always come, subtle and quiet.
Waiting for someone to notice.

Dad taught me to keep looking for the good; in everyone, in every place, and in every season.
It’s there.
You just have to look.

As I grew, it didn’t really matter who saw the first robin.
Dad and I rejoiced together for the sighting.
Goodness would soon come flocking in.

The Dandelion Prayer: Celebrating National Poetry Month

Spring is in the air! 

Even through Michigan snowflakes the daylight is longer and the buds are bursting forth.

April is National Poetry month and I’d like to share one of mine with you.

The Dandelion Prayer

Dear Lord, let me be as a dandelion in your service:

Redeemed by your blood from weedy origins,

Small, yet bright, face always to the Son,

            Despised  by the world, yet, bouquet of choice to child and pocket-poor.

Not requiring notice of royal tables,

Blooming without invitation, spreading without borders.

Eager, quick, the first to herald winter’s defeat and promises of the comfort of spring.

Always dependent on your living water, wilting instantly without  its constant flow.

Steadfast, straight, tall, unwavering in your Truth.

Grabbing ground with fragile root in slightest cracks of unbelief.

Stubbornly refusing that one should miss the freedom of your grace.

Enduring reproach, resistant to attack,

Humbly opening and closing, daily showing forth your golden goodness
     until with one last unfolding of splendid sphere of white,

Your final wind scatters the seeds of your love through my life.

Then silence, moments of breathless calm,

Awake to life anew and strong.