For a few blessed days it was above 45 degrees here in beautiful Washington. I basked in the sweet smell of spring that seemed to hover in the air. Rain fell, but it was a soft rain. The kind that brings thoughts of gardens and flowers and green leaves.
And then winter returned.
I wonder if the robins that have been hopping around in the yard are as shell shocked as I am.
At least the quail are happy. They've been running around the yard. One in particular always makes me smile. He seems happy to be with his buddies, but happier still to find food. Often, the covey of quail will be in the neighbor's yard. Then, as if all are wondering about the grass being greener on the other side, they'll run in mass toward the fence, quickly ducking under it. All except for my favorite little guy. He runs just a little slower, arrives at the fence just a little after everyone else. Then he tries to squeeze underneath. Oh, how he tries. Pushing his cute little head under, realizing that he can't proceed, backing up and trying again. Only to finally understand that he simply cannot squeeze beneath. Suddenly, he'll hop from the ground, spread his wings, soar for just a moment before he lands on the other side.
I've seen the quail do this a half a dozen times since we moved to Spokane. Sometimes I think the poor bird is a little dense. I mean, he's tried six times and hasn't made it under yet. Other times, I think he's foolish. What if a cat were coming? Would he still try to go under the fence or would he immediately spread his wings and fly. Most of the time, though, I admire his pluck. Failing once hasn't kept him from trying again. To him, getting under the fence has never ceased to be a possibility. Trying and failing only gives him more impetus to try again.
And who knows? Maybe one day he'll make it under that fence. I can almost see him now, strutting his stuff through our winter-barren garden, his feathers fluffed and his head high.
If only I could so clearly see my own failures as opportunities to persist. If only I could believe as strongly as that pint sized bird that anything is possible. Animals are not capable of faith, but they are capable of persistence. Why is it that we humans, who have faith opened up to us, are so quick to see failure as the end of the road rather than the beginning of another chance?