Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even Thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God. (Psalm 84:3)
Dr. James J. S. Johnson
BIRDWATCHING AT THE ARBORETUM, AS THE HOURS HURRIED BY
Bright red, flies by, a cardinal male,
As down, we trek, a nature trail;
Here it’s wide, there it’s narrow;
Perched nearby, a chipping sparrow;
(How quickly told is our tale.)
One of Shakespeare’s plays, MACBETH, includes a cynical comment that compares the transitory experience of human mortality to a fleeting “hour upon the stage”, like a “tale” that is “told” with “sound and fury”, yet “signifying nothing” (MACBETH, Act 5, Scene 5). It is true that this earthly lifetime is transitory and fleeting (James 4:13-15), yet this earthly life is the opposite of meaningless — unless we foolishly ignore our Maker (Ecclesiastes 12:1). And our Maker cares so much for us — much more than He cares for little birds, like sparrows (Matthew 10:29-31), — so much that He has provided a free redemption and abundant life in Christ, available to all who believingly receive Him as personal Savior (John 1:12 & 3:16 & 14:6). And, thankfully, belonging to Him lasts forever!
Time flies. Time zooms by even moreso when one is experiencing a wonderful blessing, as the above limerick briefly notes in fly-by fashion. Such a time was last Thursday (June 29th AD2017), when I was birdwatching (and butterfly-watching) with my youngest grandson, Hunter, at the Cox Arboretum in Dayton, Ohio. At the Arboretum we saw various birds (including English Sparrow [a/k/a “House Sparrow”], American Goldfinch, Canada Goose, Mallard, Robin, Northern Cardinal, and Chipping Sparrow), butterflies (including Cabbage White, Pipevine Swallowtail, Black Swallowtail, Spicebush Swallowtail, and Orange Sulphur), other insects (bumblebees, ants, dragonflies, etc.), pond-dwelling fish, slow-moving turtles, and scampering chipmunks. For me, the Chipping Sparrow was a special highlight — it is a summer breeder during its migrant months in Ohio. (Hunter accurately described the Chipping Sparrow, who helpfully posed for our observations, as looking like an English Sparrow except “his head has red on it” and “there’s some white by his eyes”.) Hunter had a one-word comment on the American Goldfinch: WOW!
The hours of hiking went all too quickly. It was a precious time for Farfar (Norwegian for “father’s father”) to teach a grandson something of the wonders of God’s creation, and something about the wonderfulness of God Himself. Thankfully, neither of us fell into any of the ponds — although some inspections of turtles or fish came close to a splashing scenario. It was a good day — albeit one that hurried by all too quickly.