God rarely speaks in a loud voice. This morning as we headed out for our walk, I had what I would call a soft nudge to take the path that runs in the opposite direction from where I usually walk. This path has more open space and less deep forest. It’s also less crowded and often has owls calling to each other. At one end, there is a small pond formed by a beaver dam where I can spot turtles sunning themselves on the shoreline.
We set out not knowing what the Lord had in store, but aware that there was something He was wanting me to discover. I was not more than fifty feet down the path when I spotted a doe standing in tall grass up to her belly. I stopped to look at her. She was only twenty feet from me. As we studied each other, I wondered what she was thinking. Usually, the deer run off when they see you. But this one just stood watching me, flicking her ears and licking her lips. Such a lovely creature. Even if they do skulk into my garden at night to eat my roses. Finally, she’d had enough of me and turned and leapt away. I could hear the rest of her group snorting as she approached.
Walking onward, I could see the farmer’s field that bordered the woodland. It was a sea of yellow buttercups. Two steer and a horse get to spend their days grazing among the wildflowers. Such a life.
My pup loves to walk the path that leads to this field. As we headed in that direction, I spotted a large single feather of a barred owl. He must have been hunting here last night. The feather is a good nine inches long from tip to point of entry. It has lovely brown and cream stripes on it. I do collect bird feathers. But usually they’re from a titmouse, cardinal or a jay. If I’d been looking straight ahead, I would have missed it. Yet because my eye was drawn to the golden beauty of that field in the early morning, I saw it lying on the ground. Two such wonderful discoveries made me feel satisfied and blessed, and I was just starting my walk.
Farther down the path, I walked into the deep woods to see if I could spot the owls. But they were not calling out their presence this morning. It’s likely they were watching me from somewhere high in the trees.
When I was growing up, we had a carved owl in our hallway that sat on top of the bookcase by the front door, keeping watch over all the comings and goings of the family. I loved that owl and associated it with the screech owls I heard at night as I was falling asleep.
One of my friends, Susanne Swing Thompson, who is a photographer and writes a nature blog, has some remarkable photos of barred owls. Below is an adult calling to the owlets. She created a touching story showing two owlets conversing about their first flight. Go to: https://www.wren-photos.com/post/learning-to-fly and enjoy!
For more photos of barred owlets go to: http://owlet-learn-fly.wren-photos.com/
Later, further down the trail, I heard a song high in the trees that I didn’t recognize. This time it was easy to pick out the bright red and black of a scarlet tanager. He appeared to be feeding on seeds and water droplets in the topmost branches. I was able to watch him for a good ten minutes before he took off. It’s been years since I’ve had such a leisurely time watching one. Here is a photo so you can see what a gorgeous bird it is!
Upon reflection, I know that the soft nudge at the start of my walk was from the Lord, His way of encouraging and reminding me that He does speak into my life. My experience is that His voice is usually soft. So, if we are over processing in our thoughts and not enjoying the present moment with Him, we will miss it. Undoubtedly, He would have shown me other things if I’d walked my traditional path. But He wanted to give me the exceptional today. Such a God who loves to spend time with His children and give them gifts.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
James 1:17 NIV