An immature male Summer Tanager
Article and Photography by Norma W. Beaird
As we have enthusiastically photographed and researched birds over the last year, I have read about and looked at pictures of certain birds that are just incredibly beautiful. One of the bright red birds that I had admired was the Summer Tanager; however, I had never photographed one. Another bird that I photographed briefly last year, for one day only, was the Indigo Bunting, a male bird who was a vibrant shade of royal blue.
Sometimes, I would tell Curtis, "I really wish the Lord would send us a Summer Tanager," or "I hope the Lord sends us another Indigo Bunting!" Many times I would stand at the kitchen window and pray this prayer.
The Bible says in Philippians 4:6......
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
A male Indigo Bunting
And there they were......both in one day.......on a gorgeous Sunday! The Summer Tanager and the Indigo Bunting appeared and seemed to pose on the tree limb, almost as if they knew that I really wanted their picture. In December 2012, I had written a similar article about the desire to photograph a Pileated Woodpecker. The article, "Woodpeckers, Cool Hair and Answered Prayer, discussed how the Lord will give you the desires of your heart.
The world of birding has literally opened up my senses and strengthened my appreciation for nature in a whole new way. I don't look at life in quite the same way anymore. I can't. Why? Because God has shown us that the real things that we miss in life are not huge bank accounts, big homes, new cars, fancy clothes, successful careers or expensive trips.
The things we miss that are the most beautiful and the most fascinating are absolutely free. God's creation cannot be compared to brass and glass. It cannot be compared to things that rust or decay because His creation is new every morning. It lives. It breathes. It participates in the cycle of life. It gives instead of takes.
Many times, I enjoy watching the Home and Garden Network on television. I constantly hear home buyers and real estate agents discussing a room that "brings the outside in". The home is gorgeous, it's modern and it's lovely; on the other hand, it's very expensive and high maintenance. Why pay a huge sum of money to "bring the outside in" when you can just go outside? Sometimes, it seems that folks spend an eternity and a lot of money to recreate what is outside for free!
The vibrant red immature male Summer Tanager
Therefore, today I encourage you to partake of God's free offerings of nature. There's no need to spend a lot of money to enjoy and appreciate the things outside your front door or at a local park. So many times, people walk around sad and depressed because they don't have the finances to travel or buy an expensive home. They believe that to be successful and content, that one must spend a lot of money. That's not true. There's no need to fret or worry about what you cannot afford; and trust me, you'd rather not be in debt!
Learning to live simply,
being content with what you have,
finding joy in the quiet moments,
discovering peace away from schedules,
cultivating gratitude for God's creation,
is freeing to the mind and spirit.
Therefore, take a deep breath, walk outside, feel the warmth of the sun, smell the fresh-cut grass, listen to the birds sing.......and grab a camera. Life doesn't have to be as difficult as we sometimes make it for ourselves. Learn to enjoy life and all of the abundance that nature has to offer. Watch the moon phases, learn the bird songs, identify a butterfly, decide which bird you want to see.......and let your requests be made known unto God.
Copyright 2013, Norma W. Beaird. All rights reserved.