I walked through the birches by the river today. Overwhelming! The earth is stripped down to simple designs. The land has become a visual haiku. Sun on the fretwork of twigs. Blood droplets of rose hips clinging to the bushes. The chatter of the creek against trimmings of ice. The skiff of snow. My breath a white cloud like a departing soul... I have always been beguiled by birds. As if there was much they would tell me if they could, but they are only permitted to bear witness with their lives, their song.

~ from STRANGERS AND SOJOURNERS by Michael D. O'Brien