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There Must Be A Million Birds

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I think there must be a million birds 
Outside my window today 
Urgently squeaking and squalling and calling 
Like they have something salient to say 

My brief experiences with these creatures 
Have always been the same 
Move within five feet of them 
And they scuttle and fly away; 

But not today 

Noisy rabblerousing by the children next door
Should cause the skittish critters alarm 
Yet they lackadaisically amble under the shade of my oak tree 
Unfazed by the prospect of harm 

There seems to be a message in their fervent screeches 
One that I should not be able to discern 
Yet the more noise they make, the easier I rest 
Teaching me that language that is felt, need not be learned 

I hear that the cries of my soul have been heeded
And that I will return to God soon 
And that the pain and fear that I have endured for so long 
Will return from whence they came, too 

And that the muddy valleys that have been my home
For the last few years of my life 
Will return to a lush green, sweeping Nirvana 
Over which I will fearlessly fly 

They tell me not to mourn for my physical life
Or the years that were too few 
Or the goals that I set but did not fulfill; 
I accomplished what I was created to do 

And I smile as my thoughts travel to my past
Images and words flooding my mind 
Ones of seemingly insignificant moments 
That had been long stored and forgotten with time 

In each recollected flash that appears
I notice a recurring theme 
One where I’m cultivating gardens of love 
And planting life-bearing seeds

Visits to lonely elderly widows 
Giving a hungry man my very last dime 
Penning a poem for a grieving friend 
Lending eyes to those who were blind 

Speaking positive in the midst of the negative
Praying for those who meant me harm 
Seeing God in the seemingly ungodly 
And cradling the crying in my arms 

Realizing that the secret to successful existence
Is not in the money that I made 
It was not in the long-term marriage I enjoyed 
Or the well-mannered children that I raised 

The birds explained so clearly to me
That my life could never have been what it was 
Had I not known that the secret to life 
Was to walk in, and live and breathe love 

Only love

I smiled and sighed and closed my eyes
As I felt my spirit ascend 
And the squawks of those birds began to grow faint 
And I realized that I was at end 

And although the sadness of leaving my loves 
Flowed into me like a stream 
I realized that the legacy I was leaving behind 
Would be the most precious gift I could leave 

Love is the ocean and we are all streams 
It’s what we are fashioned from; it never leaves 
No matter where life takes you, this you should know 
LOVE is what matters; a little birdie told me so

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