Sunday, August 24, 2014


Long ago Charles Karault had a television show which many of us old timers enjoyed, called ‘On the Road.’ I remember one episode which spring boarded me into some joy-filled moments of reflection. On this particular road trip Karault was visiting a falconry. After showing us all the feeding, training and breeding techniques which were involved with these wonderful birds, he asked the falconer, why he worked with falcons rather that some other kind of bird. The falconer replied without hesitation, ‘birds flap, falcons fly!’

As I pondered his words I came to the conclusion that there may also be a third type of fowl. Since then I have added fourth and fifth categories. My typing of birds now includes those which soar, those which migrate, those which fly, those which flap and those which scratch. As my thoughts continued to wander, I wondered if we could also fit most people into one or more of those categories. I suspect none of us fits perfectly into any of those categories and I further suspect that there are times in our lives when we are spending time soaring and others when we are scratching. We probably do a lot of situational sliding from one type of fowl to another.


Are those ground-locked birds which carry such illustrious titles as chicken, turkey and ostrich. There may have been a time when they were flappers, but because of gluttony or having their wings clipped they have become accustomed and content to spend their days scratching and then when not scratching they sleep. They spend their days with their beaks in the mud working mightily to get something into their stomachs. They live for what they discover while scratching, and become disposable when they either no longer produce or have maximized their volume. They may be dressed in great finery and be called peacock, but when all is said and done they are scratchers with a very limited life and very narrow vision.


Are those birds which indeed have the advantage where expanded vistas can be enjoyed, but they are so busy getting to where they want to go that they take little time to enjoy the trip. Once they arrive at their intended destination, they take a quick breath and then they are off to somewhere else they need to be. They are ever going and never being. Their possibilities seem unlimited, but they become confused by mistaking ends and means of life’s purposes. The king of all flappers, in the end, is much like the scratcher. The darting hummingbird is in constant motion, but accomplishes little more than eating enough to give it the strength to flap.


Are those birds which have developed to the degree where they have come to understand that besides having a means to gain sustenance the beauty of the flight is also part of existence. There are times when the experience of the moment should be enjoyed and life sustaining efforts put off and delayed. They understand yesterday and tomorrow have, and will bring, their own rewards, but today this field, this view, is theirs to explore, contemplate and behold.


Are those birds which change with the weather, willing to travel thousands of miles in order to avoid the discomfort of being too hot or too cold. They are well known on both ends of their journeys, but never completely involved in either homeland. They enjoy where they are until the going gets difficult and then they are off to find a more comfortable place.


Are those birds who have gained the ability to expand their vision beyond horizons which other birds don’t even dream about. They understand that substance is a means to an end and not an end in itself. They eat so that they can soar and soar so that they can sustain life. They have become all that others wish to be and they wish all others could be as they are. They are limited by duty and honor, but never feel less because of their loyalty to their family.

These classifications of fowl become especially important as we contemplate how they relate to the five great areas of relationships we need to work on during the short mortal span we are given.

My relationship to mother earth and my physical surroundings.
My relationship with myself, growing to appreciate and know who I am.
My relationship in my community and how I treat those who share my little space.
My contributive relationships which oft times requires sacrifice of personal comfort.
My relationship with the Heavens and those who dwell there.

A scratcher will use the plenty of the earth, never replacing, never replanting. They are forever using until when life is over a path of desolation is left as a reminder of lustful scratching.

The flapper is forever looking at tomorrow, seldom pausing today long enough to realize the goodness of the moment. They wonder about how good tomorrow will be… Where they will be tomorrow… What will they be doing tomorrow? They marvel at how far away tomorrow always seems. Sadly, tomorrow never arrives and today was never enjoyed.

The flyer comes to know that there is more to life than sustenance, but is never quite capable of seeing beyond the limits of their surroundings. They become territorial and prejudicial and find all things different than themselves annoying and to be mistrusted and used only when it is for their own good. They live a life which is constantly narrowing and tightening rather than expanding.

The migrators are forever in a state of self-satisfaction, but after their much scurrying hither and yon, they find that they have left little as a contribution to the welfare of their fellow men, who, after all, were there only to be enjoyed and then quickly forgotten when out of sight.

The soarer sees the whole of the earth as a creation of the Creator and all who dwell thereon as equals trying to understand the purpose of being one of the created. They care for the earth as a trusted steward, always leaving the ground more productive and fertile than when they arrived. They understand that today is a gift given so they might know themselves better and to come to understand their place in life more clearly from an eternal view. They view their relationships with universal brothers and sisters as a sacred responsibility, constantly helping each neighbor become all they can become. Their words are sincere as they interact with their fellows and their Heavenly Father.

We may find it tiring and difficult as we try to convince a scratcher that there is indeed a way to find greater joy and see greater vistas of life. We may find roadblocks thrown up as flappers, well entrenched in justifying and defending their way of life, ward off our attempts. We can only hold out a carrot of possibilities to flyers and migrators who may resist our every effort. After all, like Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the power of change is strictly reserved to the individual whether they choose to discover and grow or continue to be content to scratch.

The beauty of our Heavenly Father’s plan is not found in how many people accept and wonder at the painting we present to them, but is to be found in the time we took to paint the picture and the reason we had for taking the time.

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