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  • This morning I was driving through the city, on my way to cast my early vote for the upcoming election. My car window was cracked and I heard the distinct song of a house finch. When I looked up to find him, no searching was needed, even though he was high above all of the phone and electrical lines, perched on top of a pole. Somewhere in my head, between the sound my ears collected and my brain processed, the command to move my eyes, to look, to see, my sight landed directly on this wonderful little creature. This whole process something much like eye-hand coordination, but instead, using a different combination of senses. There he sat, dutifully sounding out his song that forever stirs my soul. There he sat, small and seemingly insignficant amongst the people and traffic and things to do and places to be.

    Did anyone else see him? Did anyone else recognize his perfect, soulful, God-given voice?

    I have always adored birds, but they had become somewhat of a connection for me to something that was bigger than me that I felt so far removed from. I knew for certain that I believed in a Higher Power, but my life was ruled by another power; a lowly, dark and sinister power within me. Drug addiction had warped and dirtied, marred and depleted all of the good and positive and hopeful parts of me and what was left of my life. What I could still connect with was Nature and in my mind and heart, Nature has always been a source of light and love and life. I knew even then that Nature was and is one with this Higher Power I so desperately longed for, but didn't know how to reach. I had started a feather collection. I would walk slowly and deliberately through my parents' yard or other places I was staying and collect the feathers I would find. I was excruciatingly thorough, although to me, it was never painful or difficult, it was nonetheless extreme. I remember finding a cluster of feathers that was so tiny, so incredibly minute, my sister was in disbelief at how I found them between the blades of grass, snugged up to the ground. I searched and looked and found peace there. I got out of my head and all the sickness that rattled and spun inside it most of my waking hours.

    The first time I ever heard this song, I did have to search for the source. I was an inmate in a Texas prison just south of Waco. It was early morning and we were all filing down to 'necessities', to recieve our two uniforms, a towel, and two bars of blue lye soap for the day. So when I heard this new song, one I had never heard before, I had to find him. I heard his curious and beautiful melody and my eyes passed over fence and razor wire, looking for this bird. He had stopped singing, while I was searching, but he started up again and I found him on the top bloom of a stalk of flowers that towered upward from an enormous agave plant.

    He was beautiful; perfect. I had never seen one before. Or had I and I just didn't notice? That didn't seem possible. There he sat, a small finch, with a brilliant magenta-colored breast. There he sat, singing the perfect song at the perfect time, and at that moment, I felt in touch, connected. I felt a sense of peace that wasn't completely foreign, but had always been lacking in substance and tangiblilty. This new peace was thorough, and solid, but almost weightless. It settled in me; inside my soul and I was grateful; complete.

    This is why I will always appreciate these small feathered gifts and I know I will always hear their song when it is sung nearby. They will always be significant to me.
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