Fatherly Vigil

father swan / rejoicing hillsOn this eve of Father’s Day, may I introduce you to the fiercely territorial and stunningly handsome patriarch of our small lake?  His lovely lady is very capable of expressing herself as well, and they often do so together, the sound of their great wings echoing all over the nearby countryside as they trumpet indignantly at any unwanted visitors to their little realm.  But right now, she’s busy with other things.

Cleverly located so it’s accessible only by water or treacherous swamp, they’ve built a nest and she spends most of her time hidden away there, lovingly incubating a yet-unknown quantity of precious eggs with the heat of her body.  That is her work—and we eagerly anticipate seeing the rewards of her patience soon when they bring their new family out to show off to the neighbors they tolerate (us and the ducks).

But papa has a job, too.  By day, he nervously patrols the area, watching for danger.  At night, he often rests in this perch away from the nest, careful not to draw undue attention to the place he is guarding, yet close enough to be ever watchful and ready to rush to the rescue.  He is the protector—and I have no doubt he would put his life on the line for his offspring should the need arise (though you won’t catch me getting close enough to those powerful wings to find out!).

There are a couple fathers/grandfathers in my life, who I also happen to love very much, who would do the same—and today I wish a Happy Father’s Day to these very special men.  As you protectively love your families you model the infinitely greater love of our Heavenly Father, and we are so grateful!

“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.”  (Psalm 103:13)swan / rejoicing hills

Always Be Ready

doe nursing fawn / rejoicing hillsfawn / rejoicing hillsPhotographing wildlife is all about three essential things:  1) being in the right place, 2) at the right time, 3) with a camera in hand.  Any two components without the third = no picture.  I must admit that the times when I’ve had all three work out at once have been rare.  But they’ve been all the more exciting as a result—and these two photos are some of my favorite examples.

If you look closely at the first photo, you’ll see it’s really an action shot—that’s a pretty mama doe nursing her fawn, eyeing me warily even across the field.  This was shot from my car window, on a day when I just randomly happened to have my camera in the seat right next to me.

And the second photo was a breathtaking close-up chance encounter in a wild raspberry bramble.  I was out walking, camera in hand for a wildflower shoot, and came upon this little one’s mama suddenly, sending her leaping frightened off into the woods.  This little guy was probably not more than a day old, still wobbly on his feet, but he followed the instructions she left to the letter:  he dropped to the ground and didn’t move a muscle even when I stepped a little bit closer to take his portrait.

The lesson here is that one should always be ready for the unexpected.

As in, never leave the house without a camera.

Or in other vastly more important ways like this:

Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”  (Matthew 24:44)

(For more information and instructions on how to be ready for Him, read the whole chapter and the following one as well!)

Hello There!

inquisitive squirrel / rejoicing hills“You have crowned the year with Your bounty…and the little hills rejoice on every side.”  (Psalm 65:11, 12)

This bright-eyed furry face, pausing on his busy way just long enough to say hello, seemed an appropriate way to begin this first blog post.  I am, after all, a little like this bushy-tailed friend of mine, stopping briefly to peek around my tree trunk, curious about who may pause along their busy way in this big Internet world to look into my corner of woods.  Welcome, whoever you are.

This is a record of a journey of wonder, in small places, in splendid places, in unexpected places.  A journal of long walks through familiar woods and fields, along lakes and streams, always in search of beauty.  I am like that squirrel, always running about in search of treasure to stow away to savor and enjoy later—only I for-go the hazelnuts in favor of breathtaking moments in time, captured by the click of my shutter.  And, everywhere I search, and find without fail, the fingerprints of a Creator God.

May you find, as you join me on this journey through seasons, that the Lord has indeed crowned the year—and the world—with His bounty.  The little hills—and the little squirrels—rejoice on every side.  Come discover with me!