From childhood and for most of my life I had been a morning person. Rising early I would soon be out the door to greet the day. Whether going to a job, tending the gardens or walking my dogs I was a bundle of energy. Not so true anymore. The youthful Suzie-Sunshine no longer lives in this body, being replaced by the more determined Little Switch Engine pulling a load uphill. I need time to get myself moving physically and mentally.
I had an appointment on this particular day and it took effort to rise early. On the road, the morning drive was familiar; four miles past farms, misty swamps and a river, to the stop at the four corners, turn south and straight on into the breaking dawn. I was still feeling pretty sluggish; the coffee’s caffeine hadn’t kicked in yet. My usual morning routine was hampered and I felt off balance attempting to progress into a day started without prayers. With energy level low and bones stiff and aching, I was on automatic pilot and hoping that there would be no need for a sudden cognitive response.
Halfway to town, just before a subdivision are wetlands that I have passed hundreds of times in the past twenty-some years. The marshy area has a clearing next to the road where a small pond exists. Because of its proximity to traffic and people it is rare to find more than a couple of ducks or geese floating about. Approaching this pond and still at a distance I couldn’t figure out what I was looking at on the water. Whatever it was was white, unmoving and completely the wrong shape for swans. Had someone planted white plastic flamingos as a joke?
As I got closer I was startled by what I was seeing standing there. In the crisp morning sun surrounded by a thin rising mist was a flock of Great Egrets, glowing a startling white against the blackish-green of the water. I felt a surge of immense delight at the vision of these fifty-some birds as still as statues, yellow bills perfectly horizontal to the water. I came to a stop (grateful there was no one behind me) and kept whispering “Oh my God, oh my God…” as I stared at the amazing sight.
It is rare that these birds deviate this far north and west of their summer grounds. With the excessive heat this summer, they apparently thought it warm enough to migrate into our area.
After I had soaked in their beauty, and realizing that several cars had pulled around, I continued on to town. I felt exhilarated from the experience; a gift of living and breathing art at the side of a black-topped two lane road.
God does this in our lives. When we least expect it, and are wholly unprepared, He whispers…and sometimes shouts…Here! I AM. We are often startled by His nearness when we recognize His hand. Bumbling in amazement and at a loss for words we experience goose bumps three layers deep. And I think God delights in His delighting us, smiling at our surprise.