Posted by: pilgrm34 | August 19, 2011

osprey danceI

August, 16, 2011.

Columbia Slough. Dragonflies flit through the air along with cotton meandering in all directions. A 6-foot shadow glides over the water surface. An Osprey flies upward, circles high, twisting her head. Forty feet above the water she lifts to vertical, folds her wings, careens downward, spiraling and picking up speed. There is a resounding smack on impact, a moment of suspense, then she takes off at a low angle clasping—nothing. At 10 or 15ft she shakes from head to tail exactly like my dog, sending water droplets flying in all directions.

Circling back and gaining height, she hovers, lifts high, and falls again gaining even more velocity. She strikes the water, pauses, takes off, but—nothing again. After shaking off, there is a third attempt. She lifts and dives hitting hard, immediately taking to the air clasping something. Without shaking, she disappears quickly downstream back to the nest. The rhythm of her hunt reminds me of a high dive: a pause, a slow, graceful leap then an aerodynamic descent, rapidly gaining speed. However, the Osprey has a unique grace: a hover, lift, and precipitous fall with spirals and twists to gain speed. I feel privileged to have witnessed it for the first time. It is a dance with its own rhythm and timing.

I feel a fleeting moment of envy for her freedom in making a living doing what she’s meant to do and dependent on no one’s approval.

In my personal struggle with vocation, wilderness settings are a place of mediation. There is a theme of struggle in the wilderness in the spiritual record as well. I think I’ve come to better understand the struggle of Jesus and Jacob in the wilderness as they wrestled the demon and angel respectively ( Mk.1:13 ; Gen. 32:24). It’s about tension between trust and non-trust in the Divine. Faith and doubt, expressed as angel or demon. Against overwhelming odds, in opposition to the ways of the world is it possible to have faith that YHWH will assist?

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