My husband called me to the kitchen window this morning as he made coffee. “Look, the ducks are back.” Sure enough, a mallard and his mate strolled through our backyard, no doubt looking for a place to nest. We live near a creek bed. The ducks return each year in the spring, joining sandhill cranes and robins along with red-winged blackbirds, mourning doves, and warblers.
They return. Having spent the winter looking for greener pastures, enjoying a few flings, and sunning themselves as much as possible, they return. Days lengthen and the birds get serious about bonding, mating, and feathering their nest. Making a home.
We are not so different from our winged friends. Looking for greener pastures, taking a flyer on better jobs, searching for better looking dates and mates, foraging for the good life. But when all is said and done, have we found a home or only shelter from the storm?
The birds are smart. In the winter, their instincts tell them that they are far from hearth and home—neither the time nor the place to nest.
Lent is the season that bridges winter into spring. We hear the seasonal refrains repeat God’s call: “Return to me with all your heart … even now, return to me.” Joel 2:12-18. Even after a long winter.
“Return to me.” Come home.