looking through me

Tag: nature

spring is coming

One foot out the backdoor I heard it. I squinted into the early morning sun—I couldn’t see it—but it was there. A hummingbird.

Later I left my desk for a quick walk. I’d timed it poorly, students spilled out of classes from every direction into the mid-morning sunshine. As I wove through the crowd, a monarch butterfly swooped and danced with all its gravity-defying glory before me. It fluttered across my path a few more times over the next hundred yards oblivious to the human hurry.

I veered onto a less populated path energized by spring’s tantalizing nearness. Even so, I increased my earphones’ volume to drown out the cars pulling into the parking structure I was skirting, but a sound cut through podcast and echoing engines alike. My feet stopped and my head swung to the left: a belted kingfisher perched on a bare tree branch on the far side of the creek.

I reached for my phone to take a picture—I only took my eyes off the bird for a second—and when I looked back the branch was empty.

But before I could search further, my phone rang. I resumed walking as I finalized a change to my car insurance with an agent a time zone away.

It’s how it happens, isn’t it? Glimpses of beauty flash before us, teasing our senses, interrupting the noise of the everyday. I caught three, but how many did I miss? What tree was bursting into bud and I walked right by? What color was the sunrise I slept through? Were there shapes in the clouds I never looked up to see? What scents were on the breeze I turned my back to?

Spring is coming—beauty is here—ready or not.


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walking with wonder

A sound caught my attention. I slowed my pace, listening and scanning the area to my left.

Loud and a bit harsh—familiar, but not familiar, all at once—I couldn’t place it, but suddenly I was aware that I wasn’t alone.

Seconds ticked by before my eyes locked in on what my ears found first. Could it be? A striking silhouette cut against the morning sky. I reversed course, walking toward the figure.

Just then it darted and dipped toward the creek. Out of sight, but back in a flash. I pivoted after it, studying the powerful build, strong beak and shaggy crest waving like a rebellious mohawk.

Abandoning its second perch it headed for a tree still chattering away. I watched and followed along for another minute until it disappeared in the distance with a display of gravity defying aerial acrobatics.

A belted kingfisher patrolling the campus creek is not an ordinary sight. And I could have missed it.

I could have dismissed the out-of-place sound. I could have quieted my curiosity and continued on my way. I could have refused to deviate from my pre-determined path and settled for a partial view of wonder.

That’s my tendency—to move through life with limited awareness of the activity around me, too destination-driven for a detour. Missing the movement of a bird is one thing . . . but that’s not all I miss.

Too often I toe tightly to my course. I hear the familiar-but-hard-to-place whisper and walk right by without investigating. And I miss the movement of God. I miss opportunities to pause and enjoy what He is doing along the pathway.

But the unexpected call of a kingfisher pierced my dulled ears and left me looking with new expectation for the already present wonder around me.


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