An egret landed to hunt nearby. He stepped gingerly between the oyster shells, long legs and webbed feet explaining their use. He tiptoed, gracefully. His long neck arched out, spying food. We hushed. He spied something near us, and inched closer. Step, step, spear. As his neck swept back up, we saw a fish in his beak. He twisted it around, and swallowed. Down the thin white gullet it went. He crept again. The fish he wanted were close to us, and we did not move. Step, step, spear. Closer and closer he came, until we could almost reach out and touch him. We watched.
He made his way to the pluff mud under the dock, and continued to hunt on the other side. When the fish moved on, he spread his white wings and glided away, low over the water. We exhaled collectively, "Wow."
For a moment, I wished I'd had my camera with me. These photos are from later in the week, and they aren't as close, or as interesting, as the encounter we had. But then, if I'd had my camera, my hands would have been too busy to hold Big Guy in my lap as we watched. I couldn't have wrapped my arms around him to hold him still. I wouldn't have felt his excitement. My memories would have been the photos, the flat, lens-restricted view. Sometimes I get tired of viewing life through a screen. I'm glad I didn't, this time, because now my memory is three dimensional, full.
As I thought about all this on my walk, I fished for a deep God-thought. Was the egret's hunting like God's pursuit of me? Was his focus a demonstration of how I should keep my eye on God?
No. I couldn't go there. When we watched the egret, I was simply in awe of creation. To spin it otherwise would cheapen the memory. Still, "awe" felt, perhaps, not deep enough . . . until I opened my computer to write for the first time in a week on Friday morning. I read the post I'd set to publish before we left, and I was reminded of the good use of leisure:
O God, in the course of this busy life, give us times of refreshment and peace; and grant that we may so use our leisure to rebuild our bodies and renew our minds, that our spirits may be opened to the goodness of your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.It is enough to simply be in awe and appreciate the goodness of God's creation. That is leisure put to good use.
Have you been in awe yet this summer?
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