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Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Rooted and the Restless

Half way through the summer season, the young Osprey wait with anxious anticipation for their next meal. Their Father should be by shortly with a nice, juicy fish clutched tightly in his sandpaper- like talons. These hungry, impatient young ones are newborns; the universe has just been introduced to the Ospreys of the future.

To be sure, come mid-July, the Salt Marsh looks more like a nursery than a grassy wilderness. Many of the birds that spend their summers in the marshes along the Atlantic Seaboard are busily tending their brand new bundles of joy. You can't swing your binoculars without sighting some small bundle of fuzz, anxiously imploring it's parents for a meal.

Seeing a beautiful bird like an Osprey attend it's offspring is a majestic sight; but if you want a spectacle of spawns, look no further than the Laughing Gull. Along the East Coast, the Laughing Gull is the common McDonald's parking lot gull of the summer. It's black, gray and white plumage, along with it's bright red bill in breeding season, give the bird a subdued, yet colorful expression. But it's loud, raucous call should alert you to its presence from miles away. And there is no louder time at a Laughing Gull colony then when the young arrive.

In Cape May county, New Jersey, the young arrive in a big way: the largest nesting colony of Laughing Gulls in the world is situated right in the heart of the Salt Marsh. In fact, an estimated one million pairs of Laughing Gulls call the Southern New Jersey marshes their summer home. And when the young arrive, the marshes burst open with the boisterous calls of proud parents.

Yes, it seems the world is rooted in place for most residents of the marsh. For the moment, most avian families have no intention of taking long trips anytime soon.

But if you look closer, there's restlessness afoot. There, there's a bird with a destination on his mind; he has no time to stop and care for a family. There, another bird on his way to his winter home. Yes, while most of the local marsh families are just settling in to raise their young for the summer, some shorebirds are already heading south for the Winter.

These Shorebirds nest high up on the arctic Tundra. Arriving there in late May, they begin a quick breeding session, and then lay their eggs. Most of the eggs will hatch in two weeks, revealing a tiny fluffball that can already care for itself. Just like a chicken's chick will be pecking for food shortly after leaving it's egg, so these shorebirds are ready to fend for themselves. This is known as precocial behavior, and it leaves the parents free to roam as soon as they've said goodbye to little junior, leaving the young to learn how to migrate all by itself.

It's an odd dynamic out on the marsh in mid-July. Some birds are rooted; some are restless.

A perfect example of the Christian's walk; an analogy with Biblical precedent.

In Colossians 2:7, Paul exhorts his unfamiliar addressees with the words So walk in Him, rooted and built up. It seems an odd request, this command to stand still but keep running, but in the context of the Christian walk, nothing could be more appropriate.

Often, the need to run for God comes upon us, and off we go. Running is fine, as long as we have the firm foundation of the Word of God to lead us onward. Without this basis for our race, we're bound to smash into walls along the way, a common fate that leaves the Christian bruised, angry and disillusioned about the life of faith in general.

Oftentimes an opposite situation develops, a scenario in which we become so rooted in our knowledge of God that we forget to run. We've been waiting so long to become secure, we often miss the roads God has built for us to race on.

Yet again, the Bible comes through with balance, and the Great Apostle's solution could not be simpler: be both. Be rooted and running; be firm and fervent to run the race.

Rooted and running. Yet another wise word from our Father; a word that's been spelled out in His creation all along.

I'm sharing this with Spiritual Sundays and Brag on God Fridays.


  1. Beautiful, David - so much my life at present! New things birthing - crying out to rest and root while knowing it is only step one of the running I have before me. Looking forward to more wondering and wandering live and in person on Monday! New binoculars today!
    Miss K

  2. Hey, I just came across your blog by doing a bit of blog-surfing and I'm glad I did! I've added myself as your newest follower, and I hope you'll check out my Christian devotional site as well.

    Have a blessed day!

    In Christ,
    Dakota - A Look at Life from a Deerstand

  3. "Waiting so long we miss the road." How true. Even when we've been on the road before. Food for thought.

    In Him,

  4. We can learn so much from the birds. Just this morning we were observing a sweet little family of quail walking around in our back yard and then flying up onto the fence and going over into another yard. We're impressed by these little quail families stay together, the father, mother and baby birds until the little ones are grown.
    Love all your beautiful photos.

  5. "We've been waiting so long to become secure, we often miss the roads God has built for us to race on", how true this can be for so many of us! Thanks for sharing! I hope you join me for the Design Gives Back blog party August 12th-18th for the Miracle Makeover reveal, a story to warm you heart and lift your spirits. HSS!-Sher


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