After seeing my sister off, I pulled up our driveway at 11 am, weary to the bone, anticipating throwing myself onto the bed and into oblivion. It had been an amazing, rich, full weekend, but I was now officially and utterly exhausted. As I crested the top of the hill, my foot slipped off the gas.
Oh, no! Whose car is that?
I tamped down on a slight sense of panic. Noooooo! I was just sooo tired. The idea of entertaining anyone was simply inconceivable. I was peopled out. I parked the car and sat for a moment, gathering myself. Finally, I took a deep breath and headed inside.
There in the family room was my husband, Kurt, and his friend….and his friend’s wife. I’d only met her once before, and I realized instantly that I was not going to be able to say a quick hello, make excuses and go take a nap. Instead, I summoned up a smile and offered tea.
Later, as we sat and talked and drank tea, my fatigue retreated slightly. The four of us chatted comfortably about this and that. Gradually, I found that I was actually enjoying myself.
Suddenly, Kurt’s friend blurted out, “Hey! You’ve got bluebirds!”
“What? Where?” I asked, my head jerking.
“Look!” he pointed. “They’re right out there.”
I peered out the back window to see flashes of blue amidst the thicket of rose bushes. We all crowded the windows.
“Wow! There are a bunch of them!” Kurt said.
We looked out, trying to count as they flitted about. There were at least three or four, maybe five. Bluebirds…harbingers of happiness and hope! I snatched up my camera and hurried outside.
As I approached the corner of the house, I slowed down, leery of spooking the birds, hoping they still lingered. I had rushed out without a coat, and although the air was cold, the sun warmed my skin. I suddenly realized it was quite a beautiful day.
Rounding the corner, I looked out across the backyard into the trees and was surprised by the variety of movement. Birds were everywhere! There were multiple woodpeckers, tufted titmice, goldfinches, and chickadees climbing tree trunks or flitting through the branches. And then…there! There was a bluebird. The others were no longer in sight, but this one flew out to the field and swooped in and out of low-lying brambles. I stood in the winter sun, content to watch, each flash of brilliant blue sparking a smile on my face.
After a few minutes, the bluebird flew to a nearby tree and then, as I held my breath, it came even closer. It lingered for a short time, moving from perch to perch, then suddenly flew into the backyard and out of sight. Although I waited for a few more minutes, it didn’t return.
Warmed by winter sun and flashing blue wings, I slowly headed back inside to our guests. I was still tired, but more comfortably so now, for offsetting the weight of fatigue was a deep and quiet gratitude for the joy of surprise visitors.