27 July 2014

"For Mine is every beast of the forest..." sayeth the Lord

For every beast of the forest is mine, 
and the cattle upon a thousand hills.
I know all the fowls of the mountains: 
and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
Psalm 50:10-11

It all started with a shirt tail full of wild turkey eggs. 

Our kids had noticed a mama wild turkey building her nest out in the "forest" behind our house.

Then, they started counting eggs in that nest.

Just a few days later, the Daddy walked out to check on the nest... saw feathers, smashed eggs and destruction. He salvaged five eggs.

He gently carried those eggs to the house - in a sling made from the end of his shirt. I remember it well because it was Mother's Day and I was trying to get dinner stuff organized for my parents and in-laws who were coming by after church for dinner. He and the kids decided to try and incubate them - and were distracted with scheming and planning. I was irritated because they were distracted from helping. That first night, those eggs rested under a damp towel under the light on the piano bench.

Thankfully, my wanna-be wildlife rehabilitaters got in touch with a friend who had an incubator. She brought it to town the next day.

Twenty-eight days later...

Observing that miracle of hatching entranced us all... and we'd sit silent and quiet as we watched those little eggs rock, chirp, crack and finally pop open. 

Rebekah actually had to help two of the chicks break free. Have I ever mentioned that she is considering pursuing a career in midwifery?

And then we were left with a bit of a conundrum. Somehow, we never really imagined that they just might hatch. But they did... and wild turkeys are not pets... not to mention it is illegal to keep them without a license... 

It was a crazy couple of days which included a trip to Chicago to drop the girls off for a week of serving at Pacific Garden Mission with the youth group of one of our supporting churches... and wild turkey chicks in a box, under a heat lamp and riding in the van with us for some of that trip. It also included an hour drive north, into the heart of Roscommon county, to a licensed wildlife rehabilitater, to find a legit place for those turkeys to be.

While there, we found out that they are always looking for volunteers to come and help with the animals they have at their center. My two oldest began volunteering first. And over the past 6 weeks, we've had the opportunity to help care for robins and racoons, opossums and owls, fawns and squirrels, wood ducks and woodpeckers, Canadian geese and wild turkeys - and lots of other animals that I'm sure I'm forgetting. 

One of my personal favorites is Henri, the green heron. We started calling him Henri after Rebekah moved him into a larger cage and asked me to come and take a look. He really is green and he's got this long narrow beak. I started thinking... green is the color of envy... envy in French is envie... envie rhymes with Henri (or French for Henry)... and I could just picture him as a sarcastically sophisticated cartoon character with a top hat. Yep, Henri just fit.
photo credit: Savannah Sam Photography via photopin cc
photo credit: Rick Leche via photopin cc
photo credit: Gregory "Slobirdr" Smith via photopin cc
photo credit: Dan Pancamo via photopin cc
Can't you see what I mean?

Just yesterday, we were able to release a red fox back into his neighborhood. We called him Gordon. To say that it was pretty cool is an understatement... To say it was overwhelmingly cool that the whole family was able to be there and observe is even a bigger understatement!!!

It almost seems cliché to share that first "Gordon" timidly crept out of his cage. Then, he bounded off into the woods about twenty yards or so and stopped where he turned, sat back on his haunches and looked back toward us for a few moments - just long enough for me to think I'd be able to zoom the lens and snap a good close-up with no bars, no newspaper and no motion... Note I said "think," because then he ran quickly away, a flash then blur of red disappearing among trees. But for that second when he turned, you could almost sense the wonder and relief he felt to be back out where he should be, running and bounding through the trees. The thought that went running and bounding through my mind, in that moment, was wondering if he wasn't, in his own way, praising  and thanking God for freedom and for life!

Those of you who know me well know that I'm rather fond of AA Milne quotes... particularly when they come from Winnie the Pooh... 

“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. 

That's the problem.

That quote started me thinking...

Then I looked, 
and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders 
the voice of many angels, 
numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”

And I heard every creature 
in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, 
and all that is in them, saying,

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
(From Revelation 5)

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