Trees steady me. They lose their leaves but continue to stand tall.
Friends reassure me: they don’t sum me up by my lapses.
Birds steady and reassure me.
They appear carefree even in winter. They remind me of how to survive: not just by winging their way South but also by foraging near streams, by finding shelter in old nests and by fluffing their feathers and huddling together.
Writing about how birds survive in winter, I found this phrase: “Rete mirabile,” words for the special adaptation that keeps birds’ feet from freezing.
Rete mirabile means “wonderful net.” The words describe a fine, netlike pattern of arteries that interweaves warm blood from a bird’s heart with the veins carrying cold blood from its feet and legs.
Rete mirabile: a phrase that describes life-saving patterns. I’m writing about this now, hoping I’ll always remember.