Another blanket of snow descended last night, but this morning dawns white and bright with sun, and I can hear the birds outside my windows.

There is a bush alongside my driveway that attracts birds in winter. Their sweet song, their inquiring squawk, the sound of spring on its way, of life regenerating itself over the seasons.

I’ve always wondered why some birds stay while others fly south for the winter. It seems like a lovely metaphor, regardless of the scientific reasons. I mean, there are hardy birds who can withstand whatever cold and blustery winds come their way, and then there are more fragile, vulnerable birds, who really can’t take the one-two punch of winter, and so they flee.

We all have both types of birds within us. There are times I can make it through whatever storm falls around me. I can whip whatever languishes in the cupboards and the back of the fridge into something edible and delicious, sustain us all through the darkest hours.

And there are times, still, when I just can’t face another barren landscape, where the quiet makes me uneasy, where when everyone else leaves, I wonder if I must, too.

But I love the sound of birdsong outside my windows. No matter where I go in this house, I can hear a bird chirping its optimism from a frozen tree branch. Its inquiry into what’s happening here, who else stuck around for the long cold, knowing the landscape will eventually thaw and we will return to vibrant, verdant, lush surroundings, where everyone can live with ease.

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