Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Birds of the Air

There are people, I suppose, who can look at a bird without any sense of awe. I probably don't want to spend a lot of time in such company. Birds bring wonder and delight to the garden, and the wise gardener will take thought of how he can welcome them to his plot of land.

I love my birds. They watch me as I hew out a garden in what was, until very recently, a dismally monotonous spread of chemically-enhanced suburban lawn. I think they like the improvements I've made, and if they possess a capacity for gratitude, (and who is to say they don't?) they appreciate it. The towhees and brown thrashers scratch about in the mulched beds in search of insects; goldfinches cling to the coneflower stalks in fall to eat the seeds, and just this morning, I watched a robin building her nest in the branches of a dogwood. The baths and feeders, of course, are the prime attraction. Some therapist is going without a sailboat because I have birdfeeders.

Sometimes I wish I didn't love my birds quite so much. Like Sunday, when we heard a sickening thud against the living room window, and I went out to find a mourning dove lying on the pavement. She quivered once, then closed her eyes and died as I knelt beside her. And last year, when I came home to find that our cat had caught and killed a hummingbird, just a few days before she would have left to winter in the tropics. I buried them both in the garden, their graves marked with white quartz stones that I found in my digging.

Jesus said, "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God's sight." It is worth reflecting on that line...not one of them is forgotten in God's sight. I'm always disgusted by pious people who claim to love God yet do not respect God's creatures.

Joel Gillespie, a thoughtful evangelical Christian blogger (and how refreshing it is to put those three adjectives together) writes:

All life created by God is worthy of a certain reverence. Even if we are allowed to eat of the meat of other creatures, it should not be done callously, and the beasts should not be treated contrary to their nature and good just to bring us marbled meat to grill on a fire. How we treat our fellow creatures matters.

I have known few people mean to animals who were not also mean to people.

It does not lessen us to look more highly upon our fellow creatures. They are smarter, more sensitive, and more amazing than we have yet to realize. One day we will feel great sorrow over how we have desecrated and disrespected these wonderful fellow creatures. We can start changing attitudes now. I hope that we do. (Read the full article)

For some superb bird photography, check out Greensboro Birds. Iris updates her blog almost every day with photos of birds taken around Lincoln Green Apartments and the Battleground. And if you wonder what kind of birds she's going to find at an apartment complex and a park, then you really need to take a look!


Iris said...

This post really made my evening, and not just because you said lovely things about my blog. It's true the birds are great therapy. I don't think there's an SSRI available that could top the rush of a good owl sighting or calling out a warbler. And aren't those American Goldfinches fantastic in their summer plumage? Whenever one flies overhead, Josh and I call out, "Flying lemon!"

Genie said...

What a terrific and thoughtful post -- and the photography is great. I love that first photo -- is that a cardinal?

David Whitehead Greensboro NC said...

Thanks, Genie. Yep--it's a cardinal. They're gorgeous birds.