“Hope” is the thing with feathers —
That perches in the soul —
And sings the tune without the words —
And never stops — at all —” 
Just outside our window and nestled within the leaves of a cherry tree, a young robin sits atop a nest. Since it takes about a month from the time the eggs are laid up to when the fledglings leave, she vigilantly broods over her young. Throughout the dark of night, and all during the day she remains, steadfastly keeping her young warm and protected.
It was earlier this week when I first spied the robin brooding over her nest. Here I was, weary of this pandemic and its physical distancing guidelines, sick at heart as to the state of our democracy and fearful for our children and children’s future in the face of ongoing ecological degradation. But nevertheless, the little robin just outside my window continues to do her stalwart best – despite predators, harsh weather, and an uncertain outcome given the fragility of her young.
Wrote Emily Dickens, “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers – that perches in the soul.” Author and Rabbi, Naomi Levy suggests that most life questions are actually soul questions. When we are lost and confused; when we feel ‘cut off’ from the best part of ourselves; when we are despairing and wonder if we’ve hit bottom; while not dismissing the intensity of the pain – could this be a manifestation of the soul’s yearning? 
It is now noon, and still the robin remains. Looking at her steadfastly atop her nest and protecting her young come what may, I realize that what she needs to do – is nothing remarkable in and of itself. But what is remarkable, is that she does it moment after moment, hour after hour, day after day. Watching her, I think of God’s face brooding like a bird over the watery abyss from the Book of Genesis. The Maker of Souls who continues to hover over all creation. Giving substance to hope, that perches in the soul.
 Image – Barry McArdle, photographer
 Emily Dickenson, “‘Hope’ is the Thing With Feathers,” from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickenson.
 Naomi Levy, Einstein and the Rabbi, (New York: Flatiron Books, 2017)