(Birders at Our Congregation)
In January our congregation started doing weekly bird counts on Sunday mornings. Our efforts are greatly aided by bird ecologist and congregational member, Caleb Gordon, as well as other members who brave the cold and the early morning hours. When I participate I have found wholeness and a sense of tranquility that comes over me. It’s as if with every bird that is identified we are saying, “Birds count!” We embody our faith that we are a people who offer sanctuary to all of life, for we respect the interdependent web of which we are a part. In these early mornings we tune our attention away from our daily ego concerns to the “other” who completes us if we would just not reject that difference is wrong and accept that we all belong on this planet. In birding my goal is scientific, yes, and also community outreach to serve the communities of mixed species. But even deeper is the way birding gives me a chance to offer my prayer to the world:
May no one be turned away in my heart and may we together find a way to put into practice this understanding as we build the beloved community of all beings.
Birding for me then is a chance to grow in joy and awareness, a spiritual practice where we get to rest in the peace of wild things, and wild hope.