Donna Koch on

Every Newfoundlander and Labradorian looks forward to spring after a long dreary winter. For months we have been locked in the grip of winter snow, rain, wind, sleet, and everything mother nature can throw at us. Winter feels longer than any other season. But after winter, the spring comes!

For me, the first signs of spring aren’t the changes in the weather but the sounds of birds in my backyard. The little starlings and robins begin singing as soon as the majority of the snow is gone. In April and May, these tiny birds sing loud and clear as they hang out on the power wires behind my house. They also pitch on my clothesline and sing to each other—calling out, I assume, to their mates. My neighbours’ house has some lattice that drops down from the roof. The birds see this lattice as a perfect place for nests to keep their eggs safe. As a result, for weeks, as these birds tend their nests, I can hear birdsong late into the morning. The birds’ songs can be heard inside my house even with the tv on!

These tiny birds return every year to my clothesline, sing their hearts out and once the babies can fly, they are gone until the next year! These little creatures always find their way back. Even though our Newfoundland winters vary in length and severity, the birds return to the same spot and usually at the same time. I assume the birds fly south for the coldest winter months, but their instinct is always to come back to where they were born and raised. How wonderful for us that these creatures instinctually return every year and as a result, we are blessed with their presence.

The tiny birds will only put their nests where they feel the safest. One bird always stays with the nest while the other forages for food. When the nest is being built, each bird brings back twigs and grasses to create a fluffy spot for the eggs to rest and mature. The birds dedicate themselves to the next generation to ensure the baby birds can grow up and continue the species. When I hear the birds return, a sense of hope and renewal lifts my soul—I always feel a sense of “lightness” and no matter how hard the winter months have been, the birdsong makes everything feel better!

So why am I nostalgic about birds in my column for Anglican Life?

For me, as a Christian, I get the same sense of well being within my church family. My church family is nurturing. It is comforting. My church family feeds my soul the way the little starling feeds her chicks. I rely on those at church to help me when I’m at my weakest. If I miss church services, someone always checks on me to see that I’m ok. Walking into a church service, I am always greeted by my church family members. They have smiles and are genuinely happy to see me. Even though I have a close relationship with my siblings and mother, those at church provide another level of comfort and closeness which can’t be found anywhere else.

This article is the last until September. I know many of you reading this will spend a lot of time at your summer places and away from your regular church homes. Please remember that every church has a family, and all church families will welcome you in the summer. While on vacation this year, drop in to your regular church family, or visit one you haven’t been into before—fellow Christians will nurture you no matter where you are from, and like the starlings and robins, they will feed you spiritually and in some cases physically, because you are part of God’s great family!

God bless you all this summer and may you continue to be nourished by his love.

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