(for a more recent video of the Decorah, IA eaglets testing their wings, click here.)
Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great. You are clothed with honor and majesty,
wrapped in light as with a garment. You stretch out the heavens like a tent,
you set the beams of your chambers on the waters, you make the clouds your chariot, you ride on the wings of the wind,
you make the winds your messengers, fire and flame your ministers.
You set the earth on its foundations, so that it shall never be shaken.
You cover it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke they flee; at the sound of your thunder they take to flight.
They rose up to the mountains, ran down to the valleys to the place that you appointed for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth.
You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills,
giving drink to every wild animal; the wild asses quench their thirst.
By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches.
From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for people to use, to bring forth food from the earth,
and wine to gladden the human heart, oil to make the face shine, and bread to strengthen the human heart.
The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
In them the birds build their nests; the stork has its home in the fir trees.
The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the coneys.
You have made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.
You make darkness, and it is night, when all the animals of the forest come creeping out.
The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God.
When the sun rises, they withdraw and lie down in their dens.
People go out to their work and to their labor until the evening.
O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there, living things both small and great.
There go the ships, and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.
These all look to you to give them their food in due season;
when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works—
who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.
Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord!
Ok, I admit it. I'm addicted to the live webcam of the eagle nest in Decorah, IA. Now, not as much as my blog friend Lisa, but yes, I am addicted just the same.
I have watched them since they were eggs. I fretted over the "runt" of the three eaglets. I became fascinated with how their parents progressively fed them--first putting regurgitated food in their mouths, then non-regurgitated food, then dangling the food so the young will start to rip it out of their parents' beaks, to teach them to tear their food. Last week, Mom brought them a not-quite-dead gosling so they would start to learn to kill prey. It upset their more genteel viewers, but let's be real--that's nature's way.
The two links I posted above show an activity they've just recently been doing more in earnest--flapping their wings in the wind. It's obvious they are starting to cogitate this whole "flying" business. Today, one was looking over the edge of the nest and flapping his wings, and I was yelling at my computer screen, "You are NOT ready. Don't you even be thinking it!" After all, those eagles live 80 feet off the ground. "Not ready" potentially means, "Splat."
But as they flap their wings, I realize they basically have everything they need to fly, They are feeling the currents in the air, from high atop the nest, and they have to be at least getting a clue.
What is it, that makes them take that first leap, that leap of faith, into thin air? Mostly instinct, I suppose. Even then, they will not be accomplished fliers nor ones with stamina, yet. They will do what's called "branching"--fly short distances from tree branch to tree branch. Even when they fly, they will not be ready to soar for some time yet. Sometimes the parents have to push them out of the nest, or off the tree limb. It's a time when the young eaglets are at a fair degree of risk, since they are venturing forth out of the nest, but are not accomplished at avoiding predators yet.
There's a lot to be learned from these eaglets.
How many times do we walk around with plenty of "wing" to start flying, but don't fly, and walk instead?
When do we have to be "pushed from the nest," to go fly?
When are the times in our life when we try to fly too early? Or get stuck on the ground?
When are the times we, to quote the Psalm, "ride with the wings of the wind?"
It's where faith comes in. Faith that we have what it takes to fly. Faith that we can willingly leap from the nest and at least make it to the next branch. Faith to venture forth from our nests. Faith that, should we end up on the ground, God will be there with us, despite the fact we are "not flying."
Sometimes we are faced with things in life where we've "outgrown the nest" and have to give it a shot. Sometimes we are faced dead on with our vulnerability.
All these things have to be reckoned with before we jump from the edge of the nest.
But we can't soar unless we first leave the nest.