We’ve had storms, rain, storms, and more rain. For weeks now, hardly a day we haven’t slogged through with dripping umbrellas and soggy feet. So much for the sunny South.
So, when the July sun finally pierced the clouds for a few hours. I stepped outside to snap a few shots of sunflowers, baby pumpkins, and buzzing bees.
Then, the bottom fell out. Again.
Today, my husband, Jerry, and I headed out for lunch when, a few hundred feet from our house, we encountered what looked like a bear jam in Yellowstone Park. People, binoculars, and cameras everywhere.
Of course, we had to stop.
“What are you folks looking at?” I called from across the road.
I stepped over to the crowd, borrowed binoculars, and studied the skies. Swallow Tails rarely breed north of Florida or west of coastal areas, and Mississippi Kites usually stay south of North Georgia as well.
But, sure enough, there the hawks sailed--the falcon shaped Mississippi and the Swallowtail with its distinctive forked tail
“Storms must have blown them in,” someone offered.
We exchanged information as I didn’t have my camera, and the folks whom I learned were with the Audubon society offered to send me pictures.
Later we returned home. “I’m going out to see if I can find the birds, again,” I told Jerry and headed for the car. But as I opened the car door, I paused to see the birds aloft just beyond my back yard. As I stood there gaping, the birds glided closer and closer, and I thought the Swallowtail, around twenty-four inches long, might brush the top of a pine tree in my yard. I couldn’t get the camera to my face fast enough and missed a picture, but thankfully, I have the one in my memory.
Storms must have blown them in.
George Washington Carver once said, “I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.”
Through the rain and the storms, from the far reaches, God brought these graceful birds literally to my back door. What other gifts of grace might he bring through a deluge? What other beauty might he wrench from the tempest and deliver safe to our portals?
I chased down the birds until I caught one fleeting picture of the Mississippi.
I haven’t seen the Swallowtail again since it buzzed my Virginia Pine. It's clouding up again, but I'm still looking up for him. Even if it rains.
“There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! “(Romans 5:3-5 The Message).