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Poor Will's Almanack: March 10 - 16, 2020

I moved my desk to an east window last week. It faces a hedge that once was forsythia but now has been grown over by honeysuckle and Japanese honeysuckle vines. The shrubbery encroaches on the sidewalk, which parallels the street, and it is dense enough to block most traffic from view.

It is also dense enough to be a haven for house sparrows, and the other afternoon, the snow was covering the hedge, and  I sat and watched the sparrows flit  from branch to branch, sometimes following one another, sometimes pecking at branches, moving back and forth in no obvious pattern, fluffing  their feathers, chirping in steady rhythm that I once tracked to be the rate of my pulse.

Yesterday, I went on a short retreat, and I sat for a little more than an hour in a chapel and looked out the tall, wide windows at the trees and dove-gray sky. I was sleepy, and I dozed and stared at the world and said mantra prayers and rested in the warmth and psychic protection of the church.

Today, the prayers are replaced by the fluid, hypnotic mosaic of sparrows, and I witness their random activities, absent-mindedly suspending all my concerns. Instead of my usual disruptive monkey mind, scattering my thoughts and feelings, a sparrow-in-the-bushes mind lulls me to peace.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the fifth week of Early Spring. In the meantime, just relax and look out the window.

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