Tuesday, 8 September 2009


I watched an eagle today as it soared effortlessly into the bright blue sky and began to circle around and around, moving higher and higher as it found a thermal to ride. What majesty, what grace and what perfection! I thought, “If only I were able to enjoy the freedom and power possessed by that majestic bird, to be able to soar into the air whenever I wanted or to fly up to the highest crag on a mountain and with my keen eyes be able to view the world beneath my feet”.

I guess that earth-bound as we human beings are, we have always had a fascination with flying, especially have we envied the apparently effortless way in which eagles and other birds are able to just lump off a tree branch and launch into flight. Then I thought about the other aspects of the eagle’s life and was no longer so certain that I would be willing to change places. I thought about the cold winters, when food was in such short supply and I also thought about the apparent solitude of his life. It is rare to see many eagles together usually it is just one or a pair, except of course when mother eagle is teaching her fledglings to fly. I compared that with the friends I have all over the world and who I am able to join from time to time. Friends who accept me as I am, who I know would be willing to help in any way they are able should the need arise, as I would them; friends who offer companionship and understanding; friends who write me loving messages of support and encouragement.

The more I thought along these lines, the more convinced I became about how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family and friends and that I really have no justification for envying the eagle or any other bird. I began to realise that freedom is a state of mind and not merely an ability to quickly escape from wherever we happen to find ourselves at any given time. It is the ability to open ourselves to the universal love that surrounds us, to take time to appreciate the beauty of the earth on which we are privileged to live, to smell the glorious scent of the flowers and the colour of their petals. It is the ability to watch the humming bird and the butterfly as they beautify our world merely by doing what they have been born to do.

I realised also the truth of those immortal words, “In contemplation of created things, by steps we may ascend to God.” Words that apply equally to all God’s creatures and instead of envying the eagle and wishing I could have his apparent freedom, I should be treasuring the moment given to me to contemplate and enjoy his magnificent presence with its reminder that all creation reflects the love and power of the Creator, whose gifts to us human beings are so munificent. “When through His garden the Father walks, his steps are beauty and His presence light,” and He walks with us and all life that shares this wonderful planet. If only more of us would take the time to “…mark the matchless working of the power that shuts within the seed the future flower.”

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