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EaglesPosted Friday, February 10, 2012, at 3:24 PM
By Rayla Stewart Hogue
Special to the Daily Statesman
Driving along the country road she loved watching her surroundings. Even though it was still winter, she could see subtle changes in the fields. The moisture from the rain soaked into the ground . . . filling it . . . preparing it for planting in the spring.
The trees have shed all their leaves forming stark contrasts to the sky. The angles of the branches stretch and reach for the sky as they weave geometric patterns. Nests of birds and squirrels garnish the limbs, revealing their hiding places and summer condos. Occasionally owls or hawks are seen napping in the branches. She took mental pictures of the nests so that in the summer she could find their hiding places among the leaves sheltering them.
Glancing from side to side, she pointed out the various birds to the driver so that he too could share her love for God's creation. Up ahead in one of the fields she could see a large bird of prey soaring over the land. It was so close to the ground it seemed its wings would surely touch the earth. I slowed and reached its taloned feet forward as it landed. Turning its majestic head it seemed to stare straight at her as they came along side its resting place.
"An eagle" she whispered to her husband as he too looked toward the beautiful bird resting in the field. They slowed and the eagle watched them as they watched it--following them as they drove past. In another couple of miles they saw its mate sitting high in a tree along the road--preening in the afternoon sun; soaking in the warmth.
"A breeding pair . . . they are so beautiful."
The rest of their trip they spotted many different hawks, owls, geese, and small birds of many kinds; however the eagles held their thoughts and hearts. They made them think of days gone by with other eagles they had seen and known. The valley of eagles in Alaska; experiencing their son's first time to see an eagle up close; remembering the sheer power of an eagle's talon; and feeling the wind as one swooped down over their heads. Eagles are such magnificent creatures . . . aloof . . . strong . . . yet tender.
That is often how we see God . . . as a magnificent creature--aloof, powerful, something to behold from and distance. However, there is much more to God--like there is more to the eagle. God is faithful, strong and powerful. God is not afraid to discipline God's children when it is necessary, but loves unswervingly and is tender with them as well. God, like the eagle is patient--choosing the right moment; the right battle rather than rescuing us every time we stumble. We learn to fly through practice, learning from our mistakes, with God there coaching, guiding, and directing our way-- if we listen.
There is much we can learn by watching eagles. There is much we can learn from God. The choice to see and hear is ours.
God help us to watch and listen to you in our lives. Teach us to tune our ears and minds to you. We place our trust in you--knowing that you never fail even when we fail to listen to you or follow your ways. "those who trust in the Lord will receive new strength. They will fly as high as eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not grow weak." So be it. Amen.
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Rayla Stewart Hogue is a native of Dexter. She is a wife, mother, and minister of the UCC (United Church of Christ). She seeks to recognize and embrace the unending hues of God's ethne and religion, and commits herself to living and expressing this inclusive diversity through Sacrament and the spoken, written, and sung Word of God.