IMG_2885Dawn was crowding out the night.  The hazy horizon was becoming clearer as the rising sun was lighting up the eastern tree line.  My early morning walk started out in the dark but the skies were rapidly erupting into a new day.

A pond appeared over the rise.  It made me pause and drink the sounds of the awakening day.  Birds were chirping, frogs were croaking, fish were splashing and a family of deer caught my scent and peeled off to run away from their morning drink.

Now it was to time to breath.  After weeks and weeks of six-day schedules and long hours in each of those days, I was looking forward to a break.  Serenity is a place to recharge for the next round of frenzied activity.

My hosts smiled.  They pointed me to the bunk house where I set up a couple of days of my retreat.  One of the ranch hands commented, “Best place for some peace and quiet and a good dose of relaxation.”

I sat by the pond and watched it come awake.  The smooth water surface burst into countless puddles of feeding fry.  A turbulent splash and side of a feeding fish broke the surface.

Then, a shadow above caught my attention.  I froze to let whatever bird make its entrance to the pond feel safe. IMG_2888 A lone Egret glided to the ponds edge.

It landed in the water and immediately struck out with its bill to snag a single minnow in its bright yellow beak.  Then, this perfect fishing machine tilted its head back and flipped the fish into its mouth and swallowed it.  God designed this bird perfectly for this task.

None of the bird’s movements were fast or quick, that is, until it was ready to strike.  Then, it was acted with blazing speed.  Until then, however, it moved with slowness, cautiously, carefully, watchfully.

When it walked it moved deliberately.  Slowly it picked up one foot at a time and placed it into the water with very little disturbance.  You could see its eyes concentrating on the next lung of its long neck and needle sharp beak snapping up a morsel for its progressive meal.

Some times the Egret would crouch low, getting a better angle on the highly reflective water surface.  It looked like a panther on the prowl for a wily prey.  This was hunting perfection, a perfectly created creature in pursuit of its daily bread.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography