Over the summer months I have been focusing on writing a book. I haven’t had much exercise; not even working in the garden or walking. Despite a minimum of attention tomatoes, herbs and flowers have blossomed in the sunny summer we have had. Butterflies flutter and swallows swoop overhead . They are enjoying the end of summer sunshine.
My body was telling me it needed some exercise. I feel a bit stiff after sitting at a desk for hours on end. I needed to get away from my computer and books. I needed to get outdoors to see life around me.
Yesterday I awoke early to a warm, bright morning and decided to go for a cycle. I prefer cycling to walking. It is not too taxing pushing my bike along the Loughshore Rd. The seashore was just to my right. I heard the sound of stones hitting one another and stopped to investigate. I counted ten turnstones, tiny seabirds, busily upturning small stones and feeding on the juicy morsels of insects exposed. The birds were well camouflaged against the brown and grey seaweed and stones. One wouldn’t know they were there except for the noise they were making. I was delighted to discover them on my trip outdoors.
Each time Brendan and I go for a walk there is always something going on in nature. On the way home I noticed a dozen teal ducks who had come ashore to drink fresh water from a brook that trickles down to the sea. They were resting and preening their feathers. They were safe, warming themselves in the morning sunshine. How beautiful? What have I been missing?
A speaker once said that Nature is the bible of creation. Jesus said “Look at the birds.” I learn a lot from watching birds.
This morning I was full of aches and pains after cycling. I was feeling sorry for myself and wanted to stay resting under the blankets. I didn’t want more pain from exercising. Brendan encouraged me to come down for breakfast. After a chat and food I was revitalised. I persevered to go cycling again. I decided to keep up the exercise. What has nature in store for me this morning?
I got my bicycle out again. I wasn’t disappointed. I stopped to rest at Ballyhenry Island. It was low tide. A flocks of seagulls were sunbathing. I heard the chugg chugg of a boat in the distance. It was setting out towards the marine station where research is taking place. I watched as it came close.
A tall black bird caught my eye in the distance. It was flapping its wings. Perhaps it was stretching after feeding. It continued to flap and stretch its wings for fifteen minutes. I was amazed at its energy. It’s not easy to see a cormorant up close. They keep their distance from danger. When on the ferry one can catch a glimpse of a cormorant as it surfaces after diving for food. Their short legs and streamlined body help them easily glid into the water. They have been likened to penguins. Bird Island off Kircubbin is where they can safely nest and rear their young.
I thought of the following scripture,
“Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars,
wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds,
kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and women, old men and children.”
Psalm 148:7-12 NIV
I imagined the cormorant was praising The Lord with its outstetched wings for more that fifteen minutes. I could not keep my arms raised for fifteen minutes. I marvelled as I watched the black bird in the distance.
It was time to return home. I look forward to tomorrow morning. What will the birds be doing?