Wild winter winds depart
in a final, dying howl.
Blackbird returns, a red-winged
oracle of spring,
announcing new life and renewed light,
shimmering with possibilities
of ever-circling Hope.
Appreciation is a natural gift. It is meant to lead us to God ... Appreciation naturally appears the moment our self-concern is relinquished. It cannot be possessed and it cannot be earned; it simply IS, a free gift, available everywhere. Life is known then more as art than task. The greatest task becomes our work to help others realize such wonder. The wonder is so great that we are in danger of overfascination. We easily become focused on the gifts as an end in themselves; they do not always lead us to the Giver. We subtly become attached to the felt beauty and miss not only the initial invitation to thanksgiving, but the yet deeper invitation: to release ourselves to God as we are enabled and let rise that full quality of awareness that is beyond felt beauty, beyond self-reflective appreciation.