When It Makes No Earthly Sense – A Nature Essay – by Joy DeKok
He (Jesus) said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. John 21:6 ESV
For over a year, I sat and waited for the birds to come back. I put out the food they’ve always eaten and did what the professionals said to do – I hid in a hunting blind where they wouldn’t see me.
It was great being out of the wind in winter, but the birds stopped coming over time. Well, they still came but not when I was out there. Back in the house, I’d see them flying in to enjoy the food I’d left for them. When I returned as stealthily as possible, they left again.
Determined to do what the pros said, I stuck with my forts most of the time in warm and cold weather. The first one was a flimsy little tent that the wind finally wrecked. The second was much sturdier, but the woodpeckers used their beaks to destroy the seams on that one.
Not willing to disregard the advice of far more successful photographers than myself, we bought another hideout for out there. It reminds me of an army-green outhouse, but I was pretty sure it would discourage the woodpeckers, and it’s the best one yet against the wind.
Once Jon got it put up, I went inside. A downy or two fluttered in and then away. It was the same with the brave and often bold chickadees. Otherwise, I was alone for weeks.
Discouraged, I reviewed what had worked the best in the past, and the evidence surprised me. My best bird pictures happened when I was out in the open with them – where they could see me.
Determined to listen to the wisdom of the pros, I hunkered down again and the birds stayed away.
Finally, even though it made no sense to me, I asked Jon to haul my old wooden bench near the full feeders.
Being the gracious man he is, Jon brought the bench over and left me to my wait. I sat down expecting to be alone, and because I had nothing to lose, I did another thing the pros say not to do: I talked to the birds who might be in the vicinity out loud. It was a simple invitation to come and get their pictures taken. Yeah – I know that makes about as much sense as putting myself out there.
But, within a couple of minutes, birds came from the wildflower fields and the trees. They landed on the feeders, on the stumps Jon had also added at my request, and in the messy dogwood bush, I love so much. That’s when the young blue jay who captured my heart came. (click the photo to read the blog post It Could Happen.)
And the others came too!
At first, the red-bellied woodpeckers dropped small twigs on me from the tree above. They do this almost every time they come near.
After three or four days, they returned to the feeders too.
And the birds are still coming. Some have to wait for their turn at the feeders while watching me.
Now and then, I sneeze, and they head for a bush or a branch and watch me closer before returning to the business of eating.
The pheasants come now too, but they leave as soon as they see me squawking all the way. These brief appearances delight me.
While personal and precious, this experience is not miraculous like the fishing disciples, their nets, and Jesus. That was amazing and supernatural. This passage is also one of my favorite moments in the Bible, and I always wonder – do bread and fish cooked on an open fire by Jesus taste better? Here’s the link to this chapter.
When it comes to the birds and me, I love the way God turned my heart back to His Word and the testimony of the full nets. Those guys were the earthly fishing pros, but Jesus was and is God and knew what they didn’t yet.
I love the way God takes His Word and illustrates it in earthly, practical ways that teach me that sometimes what makes no earthly sense to me makes perfect sense to Him.
Until Next Time,
P. S. The new army-green blind is now a warming house. I go in to get out of the wind for a few minutes to I wipe my runny nose (does cold weather make your nose run too?), rub my cold hands together, and apply more lip balm before returning to my bird bench. There is evidence the feathered ones out there use the wooden seat as a place to sit when I’m not there too.