High atop a nearby golf course, I walked with family. The grass had a powdered sugar coating of snow that gleamed in the winter sun. Out of nowhere, a tiny bird flitted across our path and perched on a bush. Most birds migrate from Maine; those that remain are familiar and few. This bird in the bush was a stranger to me. Upon close scrutiny I identified it as a golden-crowned kinglet, considered by ornithologists to be the world’s smallest perching bird, weighing in at five grams …the size of two pennies.
Naturalists have studied the kinglet for decades, baffled by its ability to survive ice and snow, defying the maxim that only larger animals can generate enough body heat to stay alive. Award-winning author Bernd Heinrich wrote of his fascination with this mysterious bird. “Its diminutive size and presumed diet of insects, when insects are hidden and in hibernation, combined to produce an unsolved mystery.”
As I read this reflection by Heinrich, it affirmed for me the transcendent nature of our world. In winter, when temperatures recently plummeted to 20 below zero and the ground is frozen solid, it is easy to slip into moments of discouragement. I will continue to look for small graces, God’s hand in my life, and be ever grateful, even for a tiny woodland bird that flies across my path.