Tanagers and Transient Gifts

Western Tanager in Eucalyptus. May, 2011.
An Intrusion of Unexpected Beauty

A few weeks ago I spotted four Western Tanagers in our yard. I watched for a few moments as they rummaged in the foliage of our eucalyptus, their heads as bright as ripe mangos.  It seemed they might visit for a while, so I dashed inside to grab my camera.  When I emerged, the colorful birds had flown away. Instead of capturing an image to save, I’d have to rely on my recollection of the moment.

I sat and considered this gift, an intrusion of unexpected beauty on a Sunday morning.

Apparently I had more to learn from the tanagers, as they came back twenty minutes later.

When they returned my husband Rich picked up the camera. I reached for it, then withdrew my hand as he raised the camera to his eye. I recognized his efforts as a gift to me, so I stood beside him as he sought to bring one bird into focus long enough to release the shutter.

After he’d set the camera down, I took a turn.

As I attempted to photograph the birds, I realized that while I could watch all four of them, once I looked through the lens I could focus on only one bird. I wasn’t meant to hang on to this gift, this fleeting, earthly bit of created loveliness.

Only one gift is eternal, and it’s safely tucked in my heart. Every other gift serves to remind me of the Giver; every created thing serves to glorify the Creator.

1 Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
2 Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
3 Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all stars of light!
4 Praise Him, highest heavens,
And the waters that are above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For He commanded and they were created.
6 He has also established them forever and ever;
He has made a decree which will not pass away.
7 Praise the LORD from the earth,
Sea monsters and all deeps;
8 Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
9 Mountains and all hills;
Fruit trees and all cedars;
10 Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and winged fowl;
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
12 Both young men and virgins;
Old men and children.
13 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above earth and heaven.
14 And He has lifted up a horn for His people,
Praise for all His godly ones;
Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him.
Praise the LORD!
Psalm 148 (NASB)

I’m linking up with L.L. Barkat over at Seedlings in Stone for On, In, and Around Mondays. Please visit!

I’m linking up with Laura Boggess over at The Wellspring, too, for Playdates with God. Have a look!

 

Comments

  1. I am so jealous, Sheila! Four of these beauties? What a gift, indeed. Looks like you managed to get a pretty good shot too. So, so lovely! I think I will start calling your husband the "birdman". Do you think he will mind?

  2. We're really fortunate, Laura. Our home is built on a steep hillside, so from our deck we're looking straight into the crown of the eucalyptus trees.

    Rich is very good-natured. I don't think he'd mind a bit. 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

  3. emily wierenga :

    I recognized his efforts as a gift to me…

    i love this line, sheila. i love your heart.

  4. Thank you, Emily.

    My heart is blessed with a really, really loveable husband. And a friend like you. And Laura.

  5. shrinkingthecamel.com :

    "The intrusion of beauty"… Isn't that just how it happens? We weren't expecting anything, and then – BAM! We notice. And what a welcome intruder that is.

  6. Definitely the one intruder I welcome, beauty is.

    Thanks for comimg by, Bradley!

  7. Laura: I'm fine with that as long as it doesn't involve a prison sentence!

  8. No prison sentences!

  9. No prison sentences!

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