Feeling Bereft



Silence and darkness grow apace, broken only by the crack of a hunter’s gun in the woods.  Songbirds abandon us so gradually that, until the day when we hear no birdsong at all but the scolding of the jay, we haven’t fully realized that we are bereft — as after a death.  Even the sun has gone off somewhere… Now we all come in, having put the garden to bed, and we wait for winter to pull a chilly sheet over its head.   
~Jane Kenyon from “Good-by and Keep Cold”




Every day now we hear hunters firing in the woods and the wetlands around our farm, most likely aiming for the few ducks that have stayed in the marshes through the winter, or possibly a Canadian goose or a deer to bring home for the freezer.   The usual day-long symphony of birdsong is replaced by shotguns popping, hawks and eagle screams and chittering, the occasional dog barking, with the bluejays and squirrels arguing over the last of the filbert nuts.

In the clear cold evenings, when coyotes aren’t howling in the moonlight, the owls hoot to each other across the fields from one patch of woods to another, their gentle resonant conversation echoing back and forth.    The horses confined to their stalls in the barns snort and blow as they bury their noses in flakes of summer-bound hay.

But there are no birdsong arias now,  leaving me bereft of their blending musical tapestry that wake me at 4 AM in the spring.   No peeper orchestra from the swamps in the evenings, rising and falling on the breeze.

It is too too quiet.

The chilly silence of the darkened days is now interrupted by all percussion, no melody at all.   I listen intently for early morning and evening serenades returning.
It won’t be long.



One thought on “Feeling Bereft

  1. Emily, I have read this post over three times because I knew that the totality of the theme, poetry, pics, and your comments were saying something to me but I could not isolate and name what it is:
    For me, then, it could be a metaphor for our life changes, especially the unexpected ones that leave us feeling bereft, lost and rudderless, inconsolable for a time, or for a lifetime:

    – when a family member or good friend leaves – dies – or moves away, leaving an emotional vacuum;

    – when we look around at the suffering, hatred and injustices heaped upon the innocent — the poor, the handicapped,
    those unable to help themselves — knowing that this travesty, this selective cruel immorality, is aimed at certain
    populations and is purposely, knowingly, and coldly perpetrated by the greed and lack of compassion of evil persons
    and government leadership.

    – when we stop for a moment, look around at the savagery inflicted upon our natural environment (Flora and Fauna) – the
    beautiful, carefully planned gift of our Creator God, finally realizing that, yes, this beauty, this magnificent much-needed
    aid to our human survival and enjoyment is being destroyed before our eyes – never to be reproduced, regenerated, to be
    seen by us – in this or in the next generations.

    Looking at the hopeful possibilities, however, we are children of a God of Love, Hope, Compassion, Mercy who keeps His Promises – who can and will change the hardest of human hearts, who can and will make all things new. All we have to do is to turn to him with contrite hearts and open palms and prayfor His intercession. There really is no other way. It has been said that ‘It is always darkest before the dawn.’ By our own self-willed actions and silent acquiescence we are partly responsible for allowing the darkness to occur and to continue. It is way past time for a ‘new dawn’ in the human heart.

    Yes, dear Emily: MARANATHA!


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