Take a Moment to Drink from Nature’s Cup

The bird feeders at Roaring Creek Farm are dinged and worn after tussles with squirrels and raccoons and the passage of time.
But the birds still visit them: chickadees, the tufted titmouse, mourning doves, woodpeckers, crows.
The male cardinals stand out with their startling red raiment and their quarreling ways.
When I was a boy, I had a pair of mourning doves that lived outside in a cage my father and I had built, but I had to release them when a next-door neighbor complained about their cooing, which he somehow found irritating instead of peaceful.
Another time I found an egg that had fallen from a nest. I swaddled it in cotton and placed it on top of the water heater for warmth.
The shell cracked open, and I fed the baby sparrow with an eyedropper as it grew feathers and learned to fly.
The bird would sit on my shoulder. Outside it would take flight but always return to me.
I had to leave the sparrow perched on a chain link fence instead of my shoulder as we left on a family vacation.
I can see it to this day, sitting lonely and confused. It was gone when we returned.
Life lessons taught at an early age: People don’t always appreciate beauty and life moves on.
The other day at the farm the crows were carrying on in the yard by the feeders, cardinals flitted from one feeder to another and a red-bellied woodpecker sailed down from a nearby hickory tree and hung upside down on a feeder to dine.
The birds offer comfort in good times and times of trouble.
“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?
“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”
No, but life’s moments are richer when we drink deeply from the beauty of God’s creation.
We are assigned the task of protecting it. In these difficult times, to our shame we are failing to fulfil our sacred duty.

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I wrote opinion columns for The Florida Times-Union for 28 years. I retired in December 2017, but I still have a few things to say. Often those thoughts come to me when I'm at our farm in Gadsden County where life is simple and the environment still beautiful.

4 thoughts on “Take a Moment to Drink from Nature’s Cup”

  1. Enjoyed the “Natures Cup” post. You are right that we should appreciate the contribution of our feathered friends. I have a an even greater appreciation after reading Jennifer Ackerman’s book, The Genius of Birds.
    Ackerman, who is a science journalist, writes about birds and their unique skills that often rival primates. Each chapter in her book shows a different skill that birds have and finally that they may be able to adapt more easily to the changing climate than humans. Humbling to think we may not be so smart after all.


    1. WordPress sends comments to my email address. Your’s arrived. Thanks for reading the posts. New house is almost done. Will be ready for you and Kathy to visit whenever your head this way.


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