“A Morning Meditation on Winged and Great Lumbering Things” (by Warren Bradbury)

Make room in your heart for love, for the trees

For the birds who own nothing —

The reason they can fly. 

Mary Oliver
Warren and Jackie Bradbury

Last evening, a perfect warm and breezy time, Jackie and I looked at the bird feeder, still mostly full and apparently deserted even by the acrobatic squirrel who manages to get her licks in. We had seen few birds, and I was concerned that something had changed. 

This morning, as I fed the flowers, the chickadees returned. I have missed them, and we and visitors delight in watching their quick pickups and stashings and returns. And then a pair of downy woodpeckers showed up, all business as they precariously hung onto the caged feeder and found their breakfast. It was very much as if my prayers had been answered, though I don’t recall praying specifically for the birds’ return. One of those times Franciscan Father Richard Rohr captures the essence, as in his Prayer for Our Community when he says, “Knowing, good God, you are hearing us better than we are speaking….”

Winged and lumbering, a pair of Twin Beach aircraft chose the morning to practice touchdowns on the lake to the north. I always rush out at the first inkling of their deep rich roar, unmistakable in the cacophonies of float planes. Big, beautiful, graceful, old, slow – they are so many things – and yet they overcome water’s resistance and gravity to find flight, again and again. I watched them lumber off over the east shore and then head north, surely to Namakan Lake, their thunder fading, only to return, touchdown on the great open water, and then rise again, finding lift in the calm air. 

And one more great lumbering thing, my friend Chuck. He is the best of so many things, and a notable soul in any gathering. Once an all-state lineman and a Navy veteran, his vocation was professional painter in what turned out to be perilous industrial spaces. Chuck and Gail visited last weekend, following the same dusty trail up from Lake Vermilion we also take to exchange stays throughout each summer. Chuck’s great heart and lungs are betraying him, and his health is precarious. Our prayers are clear. May this good lumbering man find healing and new wings to carry him along.

Winged or lumbering, we all make our way, often, quite literally on a wing and a prayer, and “knowing, good God, you hear us better than we are speaking.”

Warren Bradbury

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Warren Bradbury,  a retired English/Language Arts teacher, lives with Jackie in St. Cloud and from mid-May to mid-October on an island at Crane Lake, Minnesota. Though he must be really inspired to write poetry, he collects and shares great poems with family and friends every day, having, like Robert Frost, turned his “vocation into my avocation”. At “The Learning Cabin” – and wherever their journey takes them – Warren and Jackie live with gratitude. 


  1. Barbara on June 24, 2021 at 8:35 am

    Prayers for your fried Chuck! Thanks for this lovely writing this morning!

  2. Barbara on June 24, 2021 at 8:36 am

    Wish I could edit fried to friend!

    • Warren on June 24, 2021 at 9:35 am

      Good editors are the unsung heroes of so much writing.

  3. Page O’Connell on June 24, 2021 at 11:20 am

    Beautiful images and meditation. Thank you for sharing. Blessings and prayers for Chuck and all who need them.

    • Marnie Parrish-Siggelkow on June 25, 2021 at 9:30 am

      Thank you, Warren for this beautiful meditation. I could picture it all and it brought back fond memories of Crane Lake and all the beloved ones who live there. I love the quote from Richard Rohr, “Knowing good God, you are hearing us better than we are speaking…” Thank God.

      • Greg and Vicki Spofford on June 27, 2021 at 3:15 pm

        Thanks, Warren – you and Jackie are recognizing the Divine in all of Creation. Ths m ks for sharing!