Earlybird Gets the Broom

Earlybird Gets the Broom

Early Bird Gets the Broom There is a time and a place for everything, and the last day of a church camp is not the time nor the place for an early bird. Encounter is a camp that, as a youth minister, I take the teenagers from my youth group in Texas to, a camp I have gone to for over a decade. I do so, not because it is easy, but because it is effective. it certainly is not easy. I don’t want to complain too much about it, because it could be worse. In some ways, it is less demanding than other camps are on me, but extremely late nights and early mornings and full days of teaching and activity and personal ministry make me increasingly exhausted as the week goes on. Such was the case a few years ago, a week that had been particularly draining. on Friday morning, the last full day of camp activities before we would head back home the following day, I was in a much needed deep sleep. suddenly, outside my window, there was the beautiful song of a bird of which I am unfamiliar the species. In a delicate but clear, crystallin tone, this bird was singing a cheerful, optimistic song to greet the new day. This early bird had something to look forward to, had a joyful expectation for the day, and wanted to share that with the world. But I just wanted it to stop! Don’t get me wrong, I like birds as well as the next guy, and I appreciate optimism and hope and joy in anyone,...
A Bird in the Hand

A Bird in the Hand

A Bird in the Hand One of the things I love most about being a parent is enjoying things in a fresh way and to a larger degree simply by watching my children enjoy them. one example is that I had never gone to Disney land or Disney World in my childhood or adult life before I had children. however, when I finally did go when our son was 2 years old, I can honestly say that my greatest enjoyment of that magical place was watching my son enjoy that magical place. every time I have returned to their with our children, the same remains true. The Fort Worth Zoo is another great example. One area in particular was a special delight to my children, and so has been a special delight to me. Since our children have been born, early on in their lives, a favorite activity I have enjoyed with them is standing outside and pointing out birds. even only days old, our babies could appreciate the sight of seeing these mysterious creatures darting overhead with nothing to hold them up but there. as they’ve grown, they’ve continue that fascination. watching birds from the ground or through the window in our kitchen captivates their little minds and accelerate their imaginations. But there’s a problem. as the saying goes, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. implied in that saying is that birds in the bush still lack something. they are still out of reach. Until one day, my family went to the Fort Worth Zoo for the very first time. it must have...
Icarus’ Fall

Icarus’ Fall

Icarus’ Fall I recently posted a blog on this site about Daedalus and his impressive flight. while acknowledging that there is a tragic flipsyde to Daedalus story, I applauded the model of tenacity and patience and endurance and alertness and humility and mastery and attention to detail that Daedalus is to those who seek to draw wisdom from his story. a master of that caliber did not sore to the heights by his own unique brilliance and creativity, but by resourcefulness and his ability to find inspiration outside himself. this great master was a captive and yet even the most common bird was free. he recognized the birds superiority and humbly learned from them. that ability to be teachable and to receive instruction even from common things is part of what made him so great. It is what gave him flight. Unfortunately, the opposite is true for his son, Icarus. Icarus is described as a young man, we may think of him as a teenager, which is often associated with vitality and prowess but also just as often associated with immaturity and foolishness. This is certainly the case for Icarus in this well known Greek myth. In fact, it is interesting that, in the Renaissance era, Daedalus became associated with the classical artists, whose style was mature and refined, and Icarus was associated with the newer and often younger Renaissance artists, who had little concern for classic technique or with traditional methods and rules of artistry. they were thought of as driven by passion rather than technique. in our time, this is obviously a commendable trait, people who are...
Daedalus’ Flight

Daedalus’ Flight

Daedalus’ Flight Daedalus was a brilliant and creative master. he served the king Minos and is credited with inventing carpentry and inventing a plumb line and inventing many various tools. it is also said that he could sculpt statues so lifelike that the observers of the statues could easily forget that they were looking at statues, that they seem to have their own life, that they seemed to possess self movement, and that if it weren’t for the chains that held them to the wall, observers would forget that they were merely statues. One anecdote of his cleverness is a riddle that he solved. Daedalus was in hiding from the king Minos, who was seeking to kill the inventor. the King had to search from one city to the next, from one village to the next, and even from one Kingdom to the next to find this crafty man. rather than just ask the inhabitants if they had seen Daedalus, the King devised a way to draw out Daedalus, or at least to detect his presence. he knew that if anything would give away Daedalus presents, it would be his brilliance and wisdom. So the king travels from village to village and from city to city and from kingdom to Kingdom, challenging the inhabitants and the rulers with a task: to pass a string from one end to the other of a spiral seashell. everywhere the king went, the inhabitants and the rulers were confounded by this challenge. It seemed to them to be impossible, and none could devise a way to do it. Until one day, the King...
South for the Winter

South for the Winter

South for the Winter Some environments are more amenable to growth and flourishing and health than others. some environments are downright toxic, a sort of tundra wear very little grows. Biologically speaking, this is true of different environments. Mountains that reach far into the sky will have what’s known as a tree line, of place where growth on a large scale, particularly of trees of any substantial size, is no longer possible beyond that point. The air is too thin, meaning there is not enough oxygen there to sustain a large tree. Another environment where very little grows would be something like the Dead Sea. this C gets its name from the fact that almost nothing lives in it. This is a case because of the exceptionally high salt content in the water. salt in those measures is not conducive to life or growth. Another environment that is not conducive to growth is one without adequate water. deserts with little precipitation are notoriously baron. there are, of course, certain animals and plants specifically suited to survive such a harsh, barren environment, but most plants and animals and people cannot survive there, and certainly cannot flourish there. Lastly, places of extreme cold tend to make life nearly impossible for plants and animals and people. Likewise, there are environments for people that are not conducive to flourish spiritually or mentally or or emotionally socially or professionally or financially. Like altitudes that are too high with oxygen that is too thin and barren deserts with too little rainfall, some families or workplaces or friend groups or churches or social settings deprive us...
The Hawk Among the Chickens

The Hawk Among the Chickens

The Hawk Among the Chickens There once was a hawk born among chickens in a barnyard. Its AG had accidentally rolled from the nest into the barnyard near the chicken coop. when it hatched, the hawk saw only chickens. and so it is assumed this was its family, and that they were his kind. so naturally, he modeled himself off of the chickens. he taught himself to walk as they walked, a bit confused as to why it did not come as naturally to him as it did to the chickens. he ate what they ate, but again, he was confused as to why he did not have a natural enjoyment corn. He learned to speak their language, although he found he did not have the physical throat structures necessary for much of the vocabulary. he tried to preen himself to look as much like the chickens as possible, although it was undeniable to him and everyone else how very different he was shaped and colored. but one thing he did not learn from the chickens was how to fly. chickens have wings, but are for the most part grounded for life. Such was the hawk experience in life. As the months and years went on, the things that were left natural eventually became more natural. He could walk just like the other chickens. he could cluck many of their words. he developed a taste for corn. He was somewhat successful at flaring his feathers to look more like the rounded chickens. and he eventually got to wear he did not give a second thought to why he had...
Why We All Need a Flying V

Why We All Need a Flying V

Why We All Need a Flying V It is a well known fact that geese, and ducks, and possibly other birds, tend to fly in a V pattern. Like an arrow through the sky, they fly point-first. One bird is in the lead, and others fan out from there. Why is this? Is there any reason to this method? Studies have shown that there is great benefit to flying in this formation. birds are able to travel longer distances with less exhaustion even in adverse conditions such as flying against strong wind, due to the genius of this instinctive flying method. Without going into many of the very technical details, partly because I am NOT personally educated in many of the specific details, the simplest explanation for the benefit of this formation has to do with air draft. this is a very aerodynamic formation, and each duck or bird or goose benefits from the one immediately in front of it, in fact from all the birds in front of it. the point Bird and those immediately behind it cut down on the wind resistance for the birds behind. obviously, this is most exhausting for the birds in the front, so to compensate for that, the birds rotate. when the point bird has led to the point of exhaustion, it drops back to the very end of the line and all the other birds rotate forward with the second now becoming the lead bird. As I stated before, this allows birds to fly a much further distance with less exhaustion evenin adverse conditions such as high wind. Perhaps all of...
Up in the Air

Up in the Air

What else can I say about birds? What more can I tell you when I have written out my thoughts? You should know that the eagle is the mascot of the university I have been attending. Birds played a central part in the marching band show I was a part of years ago. I also had a job at the zoo for a few months during which I was privileged to be able to feed and nurture little vulture, eagle and hawk chicks. That may have been one of my crowning moments in my life thus far. To hold something so small and helpless and know what it is going to be one day. Let me tell you that there is nothing like it. Not much compares though to the time we found abandoned baby chicks in our backyard while I was still in high school. Before this incident though there was another time that may be important to recount. When I was in middle school my dad found a bluejay nest with baby chicks in it once in a tree in our backyard. he decided that this would be a cool learning experience for all of us and while the parents were away he gently grabbed the nest and brought it to the back door. My siblings and I marveled at the tiny little peeping chicks. My dad made sure we did not touch them so we wouldn’t hurt them at all and so we would not scare off the parents by making their babies smell like humans. All of a sudden while we were still cooing over...
An Amazing Thing

An Amazing Thing

As you can probably tell, I love birds. Adore them even. This may come as a surprise when I tell you that growing up, I hated birds. Detested them. I was so terrified of birds that I would shrink away from the window when flocks of them would fly over our car. This may seem silly. What are birds going to do to you? Well let me tell you what one did to me when I was little. When I was born, my mother had a pet parrot named Lester. This bird loved my mom, but he only loved her and no one else. He hated my dad and took to pecking him whenever he got a chance. Lester became especially protective when my dad would cuddle with my mom on the couch. Lester would fly over and perch himself in-between the two of them and peck my dads face until he moved. As you can probably assume, my dad was not too fond of this bird either, but they had rescued him from a past abusive home and he had latched onto my mom, so they really could not do anything else with him. My dad tolerated him because the man loves and cares about animals and more importantly, loves and cares about my mom. Everything changed a little bit when I was born. I am the oldest of three, but my parents waited eight years after getting married to start having kids (and even then I was a little bit of a surprise). When my mom brought me home from the hospital, Lester instantly saw me as...
Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather

I find birds fascinating. I mean seriously fascinating. I love how they seem so carefree. They have the  freedom to fly high and escape gravity and the burdens of the world. They sing in the morning and fly around all day. Sometimes (okay a lot of the time) I find myself wishing I were a bird. I would get up early enough to see the sunrise and sing it into the sky. I would take off in search of food or maybe just to get the chance to see the world from high up above (they call it a bird’s eye view for a reason you know). I would love the chance to be so high, everyone else would look like ants. Just imagine leading a life like that. How carefree. How just plain old free. Sometimes being grounded on the Earth is just not fun. Why do you think people invented airplanes? Sure to travel faster and further, but do you think that if birds never existed, we would have gotten the idea for planes at all? Humans looked to the birds and thought I want to do that too. Why should we be limited and grounded when little birds can fly wherever they want. So men invented airplanes. Now we know what it feels like to be so high in the sky. To be above the clouds and look down on the rest of the world and barely be able to make out a car from a tree. If you have never flown, I pity you, I really do. It’s an experience that everyone should witness. The chance to be...