Birds, Birds, Birds

c. J. P. Mahon, 2013

c. J. P. Mahon, 2013

Deuteronomy exhorts the people to observe God’s law which is a just law. Even other nations know how just and commendable is God’s law for the Israelites. Jesus reassures us that he has come to fulfill the law.

Jesus also says that he has come to liberate us, to set us free. Law represents first half of life stuff. Law enables us to build foundations from which we can later take flight. Maybe this is what Augustine means when he says, “Love God and do what you will.” This is not an invitation to dissolute living. Rather, it is recognition of the fact that a firm foundation for moral choice is in place and love is the primary motivator.

_MG_3864_edited-1Having done due allegiance to the scripture readings for today, I want to go off on a tangent. Yesterday we drove down to the Viera Wetlands. The wetlands consist in settling ponds around a sewerage treatment plant. The ponds settle the water and provide a wonderful habitat for many of God’s birds and other wildlife.

I parked the car and walked a footpath dike between two ponds. Initially, I was saying, “What’s the big deal? Where are the birds?” Then, as I walked on slowly, I started to hear the chorus of bird and duck sounds. The sounds were so varied. Then, when I looked closely I could see birds and ducks many of them camouflaged in the water plants. I saw great blue herons, egrets, ibises, anhingas, and many varieties of ducks I cannot yet identify. The beauty of God’s creation! So many different species have evolved from the original stardust. I walked slowly and looked with soft eyes. I felt centered as I walked. I was in the zone. I was there then. My 500 mm lens brought the birds and ducks into focus.

c. J. P. Mahon, 2013

c. J. P. Mahon, 2013

Another birder told me about two settling ponds nearby. Again, the same initial reaction, “Where are the birds? This pond is empty.” The second pond was a delight. It looked like an international convention of white pelicans. Hundreds gathered in one pond. Other species also abounded. Again, centered in the beauty of God’s creation.

I strongly suspect that a firm spiritual foundation enables us to become more one with creation as we mature. Hildegard of Bingen said that she was able to share her visions, her wisdom, when she reached “full maturity” in her mid-forties. Maybe it takes some of us longer; however, if we are centered in the Creator, we can have a deeper appreciation of the creation that has flared forth.

How can we not care, and care deeply, for the Mother who sustains all these wonderful creatures? If we destroy our nest, we destroy their nests. Science and nature work together at the Viera Wetlands. The settling ponds purify the water for reuse and provide a habitat for the birds of the air and their land-bound friends (There was a warning sign about mating alligators being aggressive but they must have been in hiding!)

I am posting a few photographs for you to meditate on.

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