A tiny bird on a snowy day served as a reminder to Kathryn Swegart to look for signs of God's work in her life.
High atop a nearby golf course, I walked with family. One day after Christmas, the grass had a powdered sugar coating of snow that gleamed in the winter sun. Out of nowhere, a tiny bird flitted across our path and perched on a bush. Most birds migrate from Maine; those that remain are familiar and few. This bird in the bush was a stranger to me. Upon close scrutiny I identified it as a golden-crowned kinglet, considered by ornithologists to be the world’s smallest perching bird, weighing in at five grams: ¾ the size of two pennies.
Naturalists have studied the kinglet for decades, baffled by its ability to survive ice and snow, defying the maxim that only larger animals can generate enough body heat to stay alive. Award-winning author Bernd Heinrich wrote of his fascination with this mysterious bird. “Its diminutive size and presumed diet of insects, when insects are hidden and in hibernation, combined to produce an unsolved mystery.”
As I read this reflection by Heinrich, it affirmed for me the transcendent nature of our world. During the Christmas season, we rejoiced in the ultimate mystery. God became man and dwelt among us. In this new year that lies before us, I will continue to look for small graces, God’s hand in my life, and be ever grateful, even for a tiny woodland bird who flies across my path.
Copyright 2021 Kathryn Swegart
Image: Melissa McMasters (2017), Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0