This summer was for the birds—and I do mean birds, literally! Birdwatching was my Covid Silver Lining.
For years, I’ve believed God guided us to this particular location. The lake behind our back yard is lined with trees and tall grasses (the perfect habitat for all sorts of birds), and our back yard has an inspiring view (after I cut some of the tall grasses). This was the perfect place to shelter at home during a pandemic.
I enjoyed photographing and writing about the double-crested cormorants, the eagle, the green heron, and the migrating white pelicans…all viewed from my own back yard! I hope my readers have enjoyed learning about these birds as much as I have. I also saw a pair of Hooded Mergansers and a pair of Bufflehead ducks in late October (I wrote about them last November).
Why write about birds, you may ask, with so many more important topics—such as the pandemic, loss of jobs and businesses, increased social unrest, the election situation, climate change, and the country’s financial problems—plus a long list of the usual uncertainties that cause stress?
Stress is exactly the reason why my husband and I have enjoyed sitting in the back yard whenever possible in this peaceful atmosphere. Our lawn chairs provided an escape from the threat of a growing pandemic. Since we are retired and in the high-risk age group, we decided to not take chances. We have stayed home except for grocery shopping, doctor appointments and lunch take-out, and we wear masks and use antiseptic wipes often on hands and surfaces.
Sitting in the back yard is a welcome diversion from TV reports on our country’s unrest. The outside world may sound like it is falling apart; but here by the soothing water the sky is blue, the birds are singing, and we are in our own little Heaven.
With all this world’s uncertainty, God is not uncertain or unprepared or unable. Surrounded by His creation, I am drawn into His reassuring presence. I am reminded He is still my loving Heavenly Father and our omniscient Creator. In the past, He has asked me to trust Him. I need to remember His words.
GOD’S PRESENCE IN NATURE
I’ve been a nature lover all my life since growing up on an Iowa farm. I spent a lot of time walking in a wooded pasture or riding a Percheron, often hearing a woodpecker’s call. I’ve heard that same call right here in Illinois. And I still feel God’s presence in the woods more than anywhere else but Church.
Our church was open for awhile, then closed again. We stay home, safe and cozy in our living room, watching 2 or 3 different TV services each Sunday; and I finally figured out how to view our own church services live streaming or on YouTube. We miss fellowship with church friends and I miss the music, but I talk to some of those friends and family on the phone. For now, we just want to stay safe. We’re willing to isolate and wear masks in public to protect ourselves and others until we have a safer environment.
STAY ON TRACK; DON’T GET DISCOURAGED
I try to keep up with things that need doing, but there are always distractions and unexpected problems that get in the way. I always want to do more than I’m able to do, and it’s easy to get discouraged as I struggle with growing older. Watching the birds has given me joy.
Back to the point of this article: while everything around us is so scary and uncertain, we need to spend quiet time in God’s uplifting presence as often as possible. God still has a plan for this world and for each one of us. We need to listen to His Spirit so that we can stay on track and not get discouraged. We need reminders of His promises, and reading Scripture daily helps.
Birds can’t take the place of friends and family, but Matthew 6:26 (Living Bible) has a message for us: “Look at the birds! They don’t worry about what to eat—they don’t need to sow or reap or store up food—for your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to Him than they are.” Try not to worry about the problems of this world. Do what you can to help others, and trust God to provide for your needs. I pray that each one of you can find a place of peace and inspiration today in your own life.
You may enjoy reading about Soaring White Pelicans
For more inspiration, try The Tyranny of the “Shoulds”