(image via Thomas Quaritsc)

(image via Thomas Quaritsc)

I was in Maryland last weekend talking about resiliency. Three times during the course of the afternoon, on a windless day when nothing was moving but a slight breeze and the conversation, a HUGE tree came crashing down in the nearby woods. Trees were literally coming down around us. In a lifetime of small miracles, this was a day to remember. Imagine. When was the last time you heard a tree fall? Now think about it happening three times within a few hours! Admittedly I can be a bit slow to acknowledge signs but by the third tree even I was stunned by its immediacy (once while discussing whether a site in Minnesota was a good place for a meeting an eagle flew overhead, chased by a red tail hawk, under a rainbow...I kid you not...and I said, "Dear me a sign, any sign!"). The trees fell every time someone in our group was talking about how they overcame a devastating personal event. One time it was a death, once cancer and the final crash with the revelation of the breakup of a long marriage. It was eerie.

This afternoon the weather is rainy and overcast and I am struggling with the news of a young thirteen year old friend who has been diagnosed with very aggressive cancer. The parents are models of faith, but still, it is a sad and wearying place. I might even say cruel.

But as I write this posting there is a small brown creeper on the maple outside my window. Tiny and delicate, it hugs the tree, spiraling up the craggy trunk, looking for any small insect hiding from the weather. His song is improbably sweet, a long and melodious tinkling that pierces the gray and infuses my ear with a sense of wonder and awe. The song of the creeper always makes me feel hopeful.

Give me a sign, any sign.