Startled

I saw a European starling this afternoon. This is not startling news—they form huge flocks this time of year and can be quite a nuisance. They are even called sturnus vulgaris: a rather ugly name, even in Latin. When they descend upon a neighborhood, their noise can be quite annoying and their droppings a serious mess. It is one of the few birds you can legally kill at will since they can damage crops that are just sprouting.

A single starling came to the bird feeder late this afternoon as the sun was setting. A single ray of sunlight caught it at the feeder and lit up the iridescent blues and purples of its dark feathers. Its breast was delicately streaked with lines of white lace. Out of the flock and alone in the light, the starling was truly seen by me for the first time. It was glorious.

Yesterday, I saw four bald eagles. After a hike down the beach, Teckla and I watched two immature eagles wheeling in the sky at the mouth of the New River. But what I saw today at my feeder was more profound. It made me think of how we don’t truly see people until we see them as individuals caught in the light of God’s love.

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About Mark

I live in Myrtle Point, Oregon with my wife Teckla and am the father of four boys. Currently I teach writing and literature at Southwest Oregon Community College. I am a graduate of Myrtle Point High School, Northwest Nazarene College, and have a Masters in English from Washington State University.
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