We are passing through the Winter Solstice, an event of considerable cultural, psychological and physical significance. My dearly departed mother relished this particular turning point in the year more than any other. It was, she used to say, the longest day and the darkest hour - especially for the birds. She was crazy about the creatures and knew their little, secret ways better than anyone I've ever known. She was a bit of a Druid, when it comes to it, and sometimes prone to thinking darkly. But, in spite of her sometimes somber moods, she felt this moment in the year marked the most wonderful of all the many transitions Nature lays upon us - the Beginning of All Things.
In her life she moved between and among many religions, settling in the end for an odd blend of Paganism and hard science. She was never a religious person so much as she was deeply interested in the "WHY" of life. She taught me to be amazed by and respectful of the belief systems and personal faiths of other humans; but she also taught me to be suspicious of any tenant held onto too tightly - especially if I was the one doing the clutching.
The only absolute for her was a non-personified concept of Nature. It was Nature you could trust, nothing else. You could trust it to be exactly what it is, nothing more, nothing less. Bountiful-barren; wild-delicate; savage and soothing; temporal in the human sense, eternal in all others. Nature is THE mystery - something more to contemplate and marvel at than to be understood or "explained."
This, in the end - the absolutely unfathomable nature of things - was the source of her greatest personal joy and the seat of her considerable strength of character. It was her greatest insight and her greatest gift to those she cared to share it with.
There are bountiful days ahead for the birds. Be happy and at peace on their account, and on your own.