Hidden behind thick, deep green magnolia leaves,

“Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?” ~Matthew 6:26

Hidden behind thick, deep green magnolia leaves, (Extreme Endeavor)

Hidden behind thick, deep green magnolia leaves,
tucked between branching limbs,
she sits, her coral-colored tail peeping
over the woody edge of her nest.

We have been talking of them for days, our cardinals;
his bright coat a beacon that draws our eye;
we halt in our collecting, sorting, sweeping
and watch him dive into the forsythia

emerging with the perfect twig, and she,
orange-beaked, reaching through the chain-linked fence
for the tiny fruits of our neighbor’s wild-berry bush;
the two fly from branch to bush to berry over and again

and finally we venture beneath the tree;
we peer upward, into the canopy of tangled limbs
just barely able to spy the wooden bowl;
we whisper in our minds, how many?

let’s not scare her, we agree, sneaking out
of the shade and back toward the porch.
How, I wonder, have these two mates
chosen our boisterous backyard

for such an extreme endeavor as this?
So close above our heads, above the commotion
of swings and slides, screams and screeches,
squirt guns and swimming pool.

How, even, have we come to be here,
nestled into this rise, this slope of earth,
cozied into this miniature fortress
of brick and mortar?

We are part of the extreme endeavor,
the searching, gathering, building,
foraging, feeding, guiding,
teaching, pulling, and pushing

work of love and forgiveness,
kingdom-seeking and righteousness,
giving and accepting,
asking and receiving.