Summer is a good time to listen. One of the first things that I listen for in the morning upon waking are the birds. I imagine, as I am hiking with Suzanne (my walking partner) what the birds are trying to tell us. On a warm sunny day, I imagine that they must be chirping in delight announcing the beauty of the light of the new day. Last Fall, during the height of the pandemic, they squawked and screeched frantically, as if to warn of imminent danger. However, I can only imagine as I am not Dr. Doolittle. I also listen to the sound of my voice as it seems I like to talk non-stop in the morning. Out of courtesy for Suzanne who also is a good conversationalist, I do try hard to listen to what she has on her mind, too. With that non-stop talking, sometimes we both take a break and in silence, gaze at the newest flowers that have begun to bloom. Today more than ever before, we need some good listeners who are willing to reach out in compassion to those who are sorely in distress. It saddens me to think of all those who had been completely confined to their rooms in nursing homes during the months of quarantine. Perhaps they have some sad stories to tell, but I am hopeful that they also had deep spiritual reservoirs from which to draw strength. Find some time this summer to build up your own spiritual muscles by reflecting on the beautiful passages from scripture as well as the fascinating birds, Eagles, and bears that seem to compel us to focus on the beauty of all God’s creation.