On Birds and Bikes

I love birds. Not so much having them as pets, but watching them. I suppose this makes me a very amateur birdwatcher (I can identify maaaaybe three out of ten birds I see…), but just the same, I love to watch them.

The significance of birds in my life started two years ago. It was during a chilly weekend in February that I spent in Florida during my discernment for the Young Adult Service Corps. Spring had not yet sprung but the camp we were at still teemed with wildlife. I tried to get out and walk around as much as possible, heading to the beautiful chapel to watch the sunrise through the giant windows or walking the paths to small sitting areas during breaks.

It was on one of these walks that I stood watching the birds soaring over a dried up lake that I felt God smiling down on me. My journey to get there had been long–after years of feeling like my wings had been clipped, I finally felt like it was my time to soar. I feel kind of silly saying that birds are a significant symbol between God and me, but it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility. How many times did God use birds in the Bible to seal covenants or show his pleasure? Why couldn’t those birds soaring and dipping on the wind be meaningful to me?

Ever since then I see birds as reminders of the promise I made with God that weekend. I will give my life to you, and together we will soar. (pause as “wind beneath my wings” plays…)

These days most of my bird watching takes place along the greenway as I ride my bike to and from work. Big fat geese honking at each other, ducks majestically landing on the water, redbirds and bluebirds flitting across my path, doves scattering as I come upon them. The thing that really puts a smile on my face is the birdsong; it’s like they are all telling me, “Good Morning! Today is beautiful! You are loved!”

The decision to ride my bike to work has been one of the best I’ve ever made. I see so much LIFE taking place around me that I was ignorant of in my car. Best of all, I get up close to those reminders of my promise with God, and I hear him calling to me in the birdsong as I pedal past.


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