Sometimes I feel that an interesting encounter in the natural world can be a smile from G-d. A couple of nights ago my husband and I were sitting on a park bench at the edge of the neighbourhood. I was lamenting some of the pains and difficulties of my life to my husband. I was not complaining of G-d's ways, but just airing some pain. I became aware of a wonderful song drifting up from the wadi- a song unusually sweet and lustrous.

It was definitely a robin/thrush type song but no species I'd ever actually heard. It suddenly occurred to me that it might be a nightingale. I checked my books later and it did seem a definite possibility, but even if it were a near cousin, that's good enough for me. Nightingales are quite common passage migrants at that time of year and can be heard singing anywhere in the country not just at night- though we're less likely to pick out the song in the daytime.

It was such a pleasant, sweet song and it was as if G-d was reassuring me and giving me a little gift of love that He knew I'd appreciate. It was also as if He were telling me that I could still sing Shira, still perform my holy service even if things seem dark and difficult. The nightingale is a very modest bird- soft browns with a hint of chestnut- not much to look at. You'd probably walk right past him. You know him only when he sings.When we perform the commandments, the sweet voice of our soul is heard in heaven- just like a nightingale in the darkness of the night and the depths of the wadi.

Copyright © 2002 Gila Atwood

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