Ugg. So much noise! “3 Steps to a Great Prayer Life! The Dangers of Avocados! Avocados—the Ultimate Diet Food! What You Need to Survive Homeschool! How to Have the Most Romantic Marriage! Ten Ways to a Better You!” I closed my laptop and grabbed the dog’s leash. Outside. The best cure for the shouting of the world. I needed to talk to God and the dog for awhile.

We wound our way to the trail through the woods, the canopy covering my frustrated words. ‘Everyone has an opinion, Lord. Thousands of blogs. All of them think they’re experts. Everyone thinks they need to be heard. Why should I add to this mess?’

I was too distracted to notice the first leaves changing colors on the forest floor bushes, the shift in the smell on the breeze as the farmers started to cut the hay fields nearby, the growth of the cool pockets of air foretelling the coming harvest season.

My bird dog’s ears surely heard it first. His pace picked up to a prance. I couldn’t hear beyond myself until we moved into the deeper trees—a flock of blackbirds hovered over and in the tops, each one with a flat, loud call adding up to a swirling uproar. When I finally looked up the path, I could see rows of them sitting atop the bone-bare limbs of the dead cottonwood where the trail led through a bog. But as we walked into the noise, we were surrounded by the flock moving in trees and bushes all around us. 

The sound, the flitting, the sheer number of birds lifted our eyes. My dog quivered beside me, unable to even begin to know which way to chase them. We both sensed the privileged moment and instinctively knew to respond with awed silence.

Each bird was just a dusty black bird or a speckled dull grackle, the weeds of the skies. Every one of those birds was un-noteworthy, un-extraordinary. Plain, common. Average with an easy-to-forget squack.

But together. Together these birds make a living mass that creates sky art. Across the land, these flocks can be seen ribbon dancing in the wind over barren fields. They fly wingtip to wingtip, bobbing and twirling with a twitch of muscle. As a group, people stop to take pictures, to watch with wonder. 

Murmurations, the experts called the flocks. The name doesn’t match the sound of them when you are walking through one though.

It takes hundreds to create a murmuration. Whether they do it for defensive purposes, to help each other harvest food, or for the simple joy of flying in a group with their wings catching each other’s updrafts, no one knows. Surely the Lord delights in seeing their antics. Surely they’re only called murmurations from a distance. Surely as a group they change their world.

As my pup and I stood in wonder in this black storm cloud, the whisper came: ‘Join the cacophony, Tonia. Drown out the words of this world. Misery. Depression. Loneliness. Meaninglessness. Drown them out with My Words.’

And so, I add my peep. 

And you? What is the Lord asking you to add? What beauty is He calling you to create that will give someone a glimpse of hope? What part of a huge problem is He asking you to peck away at? How can you join the cacophony? Will you join me?


The Lord announces the word,

and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng. –Psalm 68:11

2 thoughts on “Murmurations

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