They visited several times this week.
Black birds swooped in to fill the branches of our trees, their “caws” echoing across the valley. The first morning of their arrival, I answered their call and stepped onto the porch. Suddenly, I found myself transported back in time.
The black bird invasions have always been an event in our otherwise quiet autumn days. My Sons, bent over the day’s school work, were summoned to the front porch by the cackle of the flock. Pencils rolled across the floor as the screen door swung open and the boys tumbled out, happy for the momentary reprieve from sums and stories. We stood there quietly and marveled each time at so many black creatures. Hundreds of them, according to our estimation, perched on tree branches or scattered across our lawn.
They raised a ruckus. How could we not join the party?
It always seemed the birds chose the brightest, most golden days of autumn to make their appearance. In the glow of ripened corn and shimmering maples, we shared the moment, the gift of nature’s comings and goings, the ebb and flow of the seasons.
This morning, as the cawing again beckons me to the porch, I find myself standing alone, feet planted at a bittersweet crossroads. Moments earlier, the grey morning mist had parted as my Youngest Son’s car rolled out our driveway, keeping an appointment to take an important test, one that marks the end of his high school career….and my role as homeschooling mom. I have no doubt he’s prepared, and I send up a prayer that he passes with flying colors.
He’s ready, but am I?
Our 19th year of learning together at home has ended abruptly with Son’s decision to turn that corner, close that chapter and gear up for what lies ahead. Abruptly — according to my calendar. Right on time according to his.
It’s the season, I know, but couldn’t we just stay here a little longer? There are books to be read aloud together. Continents yet to be explored. Important issues to be discussed. Great works of art to be copied and examined.
The birds are gathering to take flight. Our “rest stop” has met their needs and they’ve summoned strength for the next leg of their journey. As I step back into the warmth of our home, I remind myself that they’ll be back. They know where we live. They will remember that they can find rest here.
Those birds……and my Sons.