Singing Through the Uproar, Winging Through the Turns

don't suppose I fit the stereotype of a 'birdwatcher'—and I'm not one, really. I'm a hundred pounds too heavy, not that easy to conceal and way too impatient. That's always been my impression of bird-watching anyway. But that day in the Rockies, when I came across that Water Ouzel, I must admit I was enthused! 

I'd read about this amazing bird from one of John Muir's books—he devotes an entire chap-ter to it in The Mountains of California. And—just like a new vocabulary word that, once you've learned it, confronts you everywhere you look—not long after I had read about the Water Ouzel, I saw one!

Appearance-wise, the Ouzel (Cinclus-Mexicanus) is nothing but drab. From its dull gray plumage to its almost non-existent tail, it's  just not excit-ing to look at... 

...until you notice its behavior!

Take for example, its choice of habitat: the Ouzel lives in the midst of turbulence—always!—just loves it there: rushing waters, roaring falls, cascading streams. The louder the roar, the happier and more persistent is its song, which is a shrill "bzeet" that can be heard from a remarkable distance. 

It makes its nest—a tiny little 'igloo' of moss and fern—right in the mist and spray of the most violent waters. Because the Ouzel is one of the few water birds without webbed feet, it has developed the remarkable ability to walk under water! Powerful rushing currents won't deter it from taking a leisurely "stroll" two or three feet below the surface, where it casually turns over pebbles with its beak, in search of the next meal of insects and larvae.

There are two qualities about the Ouzel that are downright Christian! First, it is the only bird above the high chaparral that refuses to be persuaded by adversity. Violent bone-chilling win-ter storms will never silence the Ouzel's happy song. His joyful music never freezes with the winter months. When all other birds abandon their cheer to the gloomy downpour of an au-tumn storm, or the lifeless ice and snow of winter, the Ouzel just keeps on singing. 

There's one more aspect of the Ouzel that I think is very 'Christian': it never departs from its "Water of Life"! And I mean never! Not even for a second! Go ahead, surprise one from its nest and watch how it flies! It will never leave the stream; it never takes a shortcut over land, it follows every bend; every winding curve of the stream that gives it life, no matter how tortuous the path; no matter how much distance such a course may add to its flight. 

If you could draw a map of the flights of all the Ouzels in the moun-tains, the lines you drew would be the exact same lines of the rivers and the streams that pour  through those mountains. 

Oh, the Ouzel knows where it gets its Life, and nothing on earth will make him wander off from it! That day in the Rockies, when I came across that drab, little stub-tailed thing, dipping up and down on a rock above the stream, I had my suspicions. But when I finally startled it into flight and saw it careen around the winding turns of the stream with perfect pre-cision, then I knew! Hey! That was an Ouzel!

I don't know how you feel about it, but  I could use a little of the Ouzel's Christian courage right about now. What do you think? How many times have I let the winters and the storms ground my flight and silence my song? And have I not read that verse a thousand times? And still it doesn't sink in?  

"Rejoice in the Lord, always! Again I say, rejoice! Do not be anxious for anything but in all things, give thanks."    Phil 4:6

And how important it is, right now, for us stay right close to our Savior; who is, dear church, your Water of Life!  "Apart from Me, you can do nothing", He told us once,  remember? (Jn 15:5)   

Stay close, dear child of the King! No matter what the storms and winters of this world may bring! Take every bend of the river with Him and—I can assure you—you will not lose your joy! 

See you Sunday!                          RAS

His You!