Posts Tagged ‘Bayard Cutting Arboretum’

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.

Tired, the flying chicks returned to the nest with the father, noisily peeping as if to share the excitement of their adventure with their mother and their youngest sibling.

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


Read Full Post »

The screen door to the porch of the house at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum opened. Richard carefully led his wife Margaret down the ramp, gently holding her up with his left arm. They made their way to one of the plastic tables along the railing, and Richard helped Margaret get into one of the chairs facing the Connetquot River. He then quickly went back inside to get their lunch.

Sitting two tables down from them at my own table, eating my lunch and doing homework, I saw Richard return to their table carrying a tray of sandwiches and tall cups of lemonade. His cap told me he had served on a ship during World War II.

Returning to the table, he sat next to his patiently waiting wife. He then removed the paper from a straw, poked it through the cover on the lemonade, and held it to his wife’s lips as she sipped. A slight nod from her indicated she had enough, and he put the cup down. Breaking a piece off the sandwich, he helped her put it into her mouth, encouraging her to chew carefully. He continued to do this until she shook her head for “no more”. He helped her take another sip from her cup. Richard then put a straw into his cup, took a long drink on this extra warm day, and ate half his sandwich.

All the while as Margaret sipped and ate, Richard kept up a steady conversation, pointing out the kayaks and swans on the water, the geese on the lawn, and the osprey swooping in the sky above. When she wasn’t sipping or chewing, Margaret had a serene smile on her face. As Richard ate his lunch, Margaret continued to look out at the River, still smiling.

It was time for me to leave, and I packed up my notebook and textbook into my backpack. I smiled at the couple as I was walking past.

“Did you enjoy your writing?” Richard asked me. I indicated that yes, I had, and commented on his cap. The conversation continued as he proudly shared that he and Margaret had known each other since 1938, when he was at MIT and she was attending Simmons College. Margaret smiled. Richard repeated twice that it was Margaret who helped him through MIT’s program, the War, and how she took care of him and their children. He shared that Margaret has always loved coming to the Arboretum, and they have lunch there at least once a week, even though she’s been sick. We conversed a little more, then I said goodbye to each of them and headed across the lawns and gardens to the car.

As I walked, I realized how Christ was in each of those beautiful people, who had gone through over 70 years of life together. Richard had made it a point to make sure that others saw Margaret not as a handicapped person, but as a child of God, who was loved and valued by Him.

© Diane L. Neuls DeBlasio 2011

Read Full Post »