Black and White

“White is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black. God paints in many colors; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white. ”
― G.K. Chesterton

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At first glance, one thinks there are but a few remaining leaves still clinging to the tree, suddenly hearing them before you see them—the leaves are not leaves but rather a flock black birds. . .

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The birds cling to the tender ice encrusted twigs.

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The “mass” mentality of these birds is very strong–when one bird takes flight, the entire flock follows suit.

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These birds are so aggressive with feeding that they will even work together to keep larger animals out of the mix, actually driving deer away from joining the meal.

It’s not always what you think

To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.
Gilbert K. Chesterton

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Upon first glance, the tree out in the pasture appears to be rather bare with only what one would assume to be a few straggling leaves. . .and then, suddenly, you hear it. There is a rousing deafening din of chatter–rising and falling to a crashing crescendo of chirping only to immediately and eerily cease—a few seconds later, it begins again.

Upon further inspection the leaves, or so it seems, are not leaves at all but rather hundreds of starlings, better known as grackles. I posted some images a week or so ago of this massive flock covering the telephone lines up and down our street. Today the roosting spot of preference is the tree in the pasture.

These pictures simply do not do justice to the overwhelming presence of these birds. A swarming black cloud. It is mesmerizing watching the mass of bodies and wings weaving in and out throughout the sky to the tree tops, only to be suddenly startled, taking off en masse, to another tree top. Amazing how they fly in tandem without running into one another–another beautiful example of the synchronization of nature.

As we find ourselves approaching the season of watchful waiting, expectant anticipation, may we be mindful of the unexpected wonders of the season. Small gifts of joy and magic found in the simplest of things, as in a group of birds.

I find today’s quote by the late great G.K. Chesterton, the larger than life British writer and journalist, and Catholic apologist, most heartening–a sober reminder helping to carry us through this season with a heart turned toward thanks and joy. To be mindful of what the season is truly about and not to the contrary of the glamour and glitz that the retail giants would lead us to believe–to love, to forgive, to believe and to hope when the world would direct us differently.

Watching, waiting, forgiving hoping, loving, believing— Veni, Veni Emmanuel…