The Great Egret catching fish on the Altamaha River
Bullard Creek Wildlife Management Area, Jeff Davis County, Georgia
Photography and Article by Norma Beaird
Every once in a while, we write an article about this...
A little over a week ago and on Sunday after church, we decided to ride down to the Altamaha River and the Bullard Creek Wildlife Management Area located in Jeff Davis County, Georgia. We wanted to see if migration had brought us a few more birds to the river.
As we were driving by the river, we saw a Great Egret doing some fishing. In the picture above, the egret had caught three small fish in his bill. He was fishing on the island in the middle of the river. It was a blessing to see this magnificent creation of God and escape from this daily grind called life. No matter how stressed we are about life's daily struggles, the birds keep on....keeping on.
We can learn lessons from nature.
We can find peace in natural surroundings. So many times, we become entangled with the cares of this world, the frustrations, the disappointments, the waiting, the frightening decisions and uncertainty of the future. We become entangled in this thing called life; however, it shouldn't be an entanglement, it should be a journey that we live with excitement and hope.
Many times, people are caught in the daily "brass and glass" culture where the only thing we see are the insides of buildings, offices or cubicles. We rush to work, rush to get home, and dread the cycle all over again. No matter if we're going to work, the doctor's office or the mall, we're in a hurry to get things done (that reminds me of that famous song by the group Alabama).
In the midst of this mad rush, we go to the grocery store, pay the bills, cook the dinner and check the mail. At some point, we collapse on the bed or the couch and attempt to free our mind by watching "Dancing With the Stars" or a college football game. We may check out the latest news or selfies on Facebook.
...and then we miss the Canada Geese leaving for their evening roosting location.
A silhouette of Canada Geese
We spend our lives attempting to live the "American Dream", burning the candle at both ends, and then we wonder why we're exhausted and frustrated all of the time. The "American Dream" is exhausting because it requires you to be successful, have a fancy education, make lots of money, buy an expensive home and stay current on all of the latest gadgets. It's exhausting and costly. It's costly because many times we neglect the most important things in life that God has freely given to us.
Even though work and our daily activities are very important, we need to spend time recharging our emotional and spiritual batteries. It's important to walk outside and breathe in the cool morning air. It's important to identify bird song. It's important to look at something besides a contract, a calendar, a computer or a parking lot. We overwhelm ourselves with full schedules,
...and we miss breathing fresh air and spending time among the tall pines trees.
The boardwalk at the Towns Bluff Park & Heritage Center in Bullard Creek WMA
Jeff Davis County, Georgia
Many parents spend unbelievable amounts of money to take their children to Disney World; and yet, they never teach them about a Northern Cardinal or introduce them to the beauty of a state park. The child knows Mickey Mouse, but couldn't recognize a Blue Jay if it landed on the front porch. Sad.
Birdwatching is a science and a spiritual experience. We learn about the taxonomy, behavior and habitat of a bird, but we also learn spiritual lessons of faith and provision. In watching birds, we learn about migration and the times of year that birds travel north to south and vice versa. In watching birds, we also learn about the weather and how the weather controls bird movement in an area.
Birdwatching is free, natural, educational and spiritually uplifting. Disney World is expensive, artificial, culturally insignificant in the greater scope of things and physically exhausting. Nature represents reality while Disney represents a fantasy.
The American culture is teaching our children to work--work--work-- spend--spend--spend, work some more, and spend even more. It becomes second nature to take hard-earned money and go stare at an underpaid employee in a mouse costume. And yes, our family made the pilgrimage to Disney World and waved at Mickey. However, we also drove through the Central Florida orange groves and breathed in that heavenly citrus scent.
It's not a sin to go to Disney World, but it's destructive to the spirit to be unbalanced in our daily life. We need time to rest, reflect, pray and free our minds from the chains of cultural demands. It's a lovely testimony of the blessings of God to be able to work hard and be prosperous, but money becomes an idol when it's not balanced with the most important blessings from Heaven:
God, family, love, faith and an appreciation and respect for God's creation.
We can sum this up by saying this....Life is beautiful.
God Loves You.
Faith is Real.
Family is Important.
Nature is Invigorating.
Don't miss the joy.
Don't become so busy that you miss the Waxing Gibbous Moon.
Our prayer for today:
God, we thank you for your many blessings that you have bestowed upon us. Even when things are not perfect and we must deal with trials and tribulations, we praise you because you're always near. Increase our faith and give us a positive outlook on life so that we may be a Godly example to others.
Help us to be ever mindful of Your many blessings and give us the wisdom to slow down and rest, and develop a deep appreciation for the lovely natural surroundings that you have given to us for free.
Thank you for your love and thank you for your son Jesus Christ, who gave His all so that we might be spiritually free. Help us to implement balance in our lives so that we may lead a more productive life.
Please strengthen with relationship to You so that we may be reminded daily that our spiritual condition is more important than the acquisition of money and a lifestyle of materialism. Guide us and lead us into a path of righteousness so that we may be a light in a world of darkness.
In Jesus' name we pray.....Amen!
O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing unto the Lord, bless His name; shew forth His salvation from day to day.
3 Declare His glory among the heathen, His wonders among all people.
4 For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: He is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
7 Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.
8 Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name: bring an offering, and come into His courts.
9 O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: He shall judge the people righteously.
11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.
12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice
13 Before the Lord: for He cometh, for He cometh to judge the earth: He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth.
Copyright 2015, Curtis and Norma Beaird. All rights reserved.