Wednesday, March 08, 2006

New appreciation

Terry Tempest Williams has helped me to come to appreciate birds much more than I ever did. I have to admit, with Hitchcock movies and stories like Poe's "The Raven" and the Grimm Brothers' "The Juniper Tree" I have always had some kind of dread of birds, as if they were supernatural creatures. This morning, I sit at my desk before sunrise and I hear the songs of several different species filtering through my window, and it's so refreshing that I cannot imagine having ever dreaded them.

In Refuge, Terry Tempest Williams found comfort in the familiarity of the birds, even when the Great Salt Lake was rising and when her mother was dying. The scene in which she prepares the body of the deceased whistling swan is so idyllic and moving and deeply metaphoric. I looked up the whistling swan, and it really is a beautiful bird. She knew each of the birds intimately, and her heart broke as theirs did, slowly as she watched their habitat drown, bit by bit.

I have watched birds a few times in my life. Truthfully, it has never greatly interested me. Until now. I never cared about putting a name to a new bird; they were simply all birds to me. But it might be fun to watch them come and go, become familiar with the frequenters and, like Terry Tempest Williams, become filled with excitement when a rarer species makes an appearance. Birds really are beautiful to listen to, and their colors and shapes are all so varied. I just never noticed before.

1 comment:

Right Hand Burning said...

I think I've come up with a few ideas on how I'm going to go about making the baptism video... instead of telling my whole life part by part, I'm going to take one major story and relate other parts in through it... so my story, in two minutes, goes something like this:

"Hi, my name is Kristin Heffelfinger, and I currently attend Athens Church in Athens, GA. I came to the University of Georgia for one reason: to run cross-country for then University team. You see, I spent 18 years of my life trying to find something I could do successfully, and I found that in Cross Country. I guess you could say this desire was based on the perspective I once had of God; I thought that God was someone I needed to impress. I always thought that if I succeeded, God would like me more, and if I didn't succeed, he would dislike me. Thus, since it took me 18 years to find anything I could succeed at, I pretty much thought that God had set his heart on disliking me, so I decided that I hated Him, too. When I got to the University of Georgia, I learned that cross country in college is a whole different ball game; I began to lose all my races, and this, coupled with struggles I faced in friendships, school, romantic relationships, and I couldn't understand why, according to my erroneous perception of Him, God hated me so much. I talked to my teammate Kelly about this, and she reluctantly dragged me to an FCA meeting. It was there that I heard for the first time that God didn't care whether I succeeded or failed, He loved me, and loved me so much that He sent His son to die for me, and that all I had to do to accept this unconditional love was to offer God control of my life. I was blown away by this, and on Feb. 18, 2004 knelt down in the Butts Mehre and asked God to take over my life. Since then, I've been so blessed. Especially, I would like to publically affirm Sean and Bonnie Seay, and all the staff at Athens Church, for creating such a welcoming and invigorating spiritual environment. I also want to thank my Dad for all his spiritual encouragement, and for shouting "Colossians 3:17!" at me at the end of half-marathons. Thus, I'm here today to tell you that it doesn't matter the prize I may or may not win at the end of running races, for I have already accepted the greatest and most eternal prize, Christ Jesus, into my heart, and I'm here today to publicly affirm that he is my rock, my lord and savior, and my one victory."

I have to make it a bit shorter, as you can see, but I think that will summarize some stuff while really hitting on the big points. Also, the grammar will probably improve a lot. What do you think?

I will write more about the art later; it's kind of late right now and I'm supposed to be packing for spring break, but I'm excited to look up that artist you were talking about....