It was Flying Lesson Day for the Osprey at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum. The noisy calls from high up in the air caught my attention as I walked through the gardens. I looked up to see the father, gently soaring near the nest as two of the chicks flew near him.
The bright blue sky dotted with wispy clouds provided a perfect backdrop for the majestic sight of the flying raptors: the father’s six foot wingspan allowed him to slowly circle the shorter-winged offspring as they made their own tight flight patterns within his. As they flew, he called out to the chicks, perhaps with encouragement or instructions, and they called back to him.
The large nest of sticks was high up in the weeping beech tree. Perched on the edge of the nest was the third chick, squawking, with its mother standing behind, gently encouraging it to try.
Youngest chick was having none of it.
The father and two flying chicks continued to call to each other, the father with encouraging squawks, and the chicks in a high-pitched peep as if to say “We’re Flying! Look at me!”
The mother stayed in the nest with the youngest chick, encouraging, first with only squawks. She then tried opening her wings behind the reluctant one, as if to push it off the nest, but the chick clung fast. It wasn’t yet ready to fly.
For half an hour, I along with other onlookers, watched and waited. Wanting to witness the first takeoff, I willed the chick to take the leap of faith. Youngest chick wouldn’t go.
Tomorrow was another day, and the youngest chick would be offered another opportunity to fly. It would have the loving encouragement of its parents, who understood enough to let the chick go at its own pace.
It was a Seeing God in the Ordinary moment. Sometimes I’m like that reluctant chick, perched at the edge of the nest, afraid. Yet God is nearby, gently calling and encouraging, knowing I can do it, yet allowing me the time to gain enough courage and trust to take that leap of faith.
… Do not fear, only believe. Mark 5:36
© Diane L. Neuls DeBlasio 2011