A Passionist Encounters a Nuthatch!

Sound interesting?  Indeed!  We had a grace-filled retreat early this week and a wonderful Feast of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple. The next day we had our annual Thanksgiving Day Gaudeamus. Christie shared the following bird-watching experience and Mother asked her to type it up for the blog. Christie, ready to make good on living the spirit of obedience, has done just that! 

I hope her story blesses you!


I was on retreat and had just finished my spiritual reading from a book that had been suggested to me by one of the Sisters.  It was a most perfect day for a walk outside—slightly cool, not a cloud in the sky.  At the beginning of my walk, glorying in the day, I started pondering some of the words I had just read-- how before original sin, all the animals were obedient to Adam and came close to him.  He knew all about their nature and named them from this knowledge.  I was thinking how beautiful the original state of man was.  Then I became aware of how active the birds were at this particular time of morning. I enjoy looking out for different kinds of birds on the monastery grounds and then looking up their pictures in our bird book. 

As I walked I spotted a blue jay.  But there was a flock of birds in the trees  that kept flying ahead of me as I neared them.   I looked hard and tried to identify what kind of birds they were, but they moved so fast that I couldn’t tell.  They wanted to stay far from me!  Thinking again about Adam and the animals, I asked Jesus if He would get them to stay still so I could get closer to them.  I told Him to let them know that I wouldn’t hurt them.  But they kept darting ahead of me, and I continued my walk down the path. What a day it was; I was so aware of God’s goodness in His beautiful creation.


I started down another path on a different area of the grounds, and as I neared a wooded area I noticed a lone bird perched on the trunk of one of the trees.  It’s pose on the tree was very striking, not like any other.  As I tried to focus in on it, the thought came into my mind, “Is that a nuthatch?” I think I had only seen a picture of a nuthatch a couple times, but I thought again, “That looks like a nuthatch.”  I was getting a little excited, because I had not seen this bird around this area. I was disappointed, though, because it was too far off to see any of its markings. 

Suddenly, this bird takes flight and is making a beeline right toward me.  I am not exaggerating—if I had not ducked the bird would have flown into my forehead.  I actually felt the air move as the bird flew over my lowered head!  I turned as the bird flew by and I saw it land on a tree just close enough that I could see the markings of its face and head which were very distinctive.  Glory to God, I just knew it was a nuthatch! (which was later confirmed by the bird book). 

After the excitement of the moment settled down, I continued my walk.  A chuckle started to well up within, though, with the thought that Jesus was playing games with me. I wanted the birds to come close, but not that close.   I jokingly said to Him, “Jesus that was not funny at all; that bird almost hit me!", but then I quickly added, “yeah, it really was funny.”