The day before Easter my husband and I witnessed an upsetting sight. The osprey pair, of whom we’ve grown fond, has a nest just outside our picture window and we’re able to closely watch the magnificent birds, which look similar to eagles except slightly smaller but from the same raptor family. The Audubon Society would delight in our perfect bird watcher’s scenario.
Recently back from a winter south of the equator, so our research says, these beautiful creatures faced a spring that hadn’t caught up with the calendar. Cold gusty winds and icy snow pelted down on the warm climate loving birds. These adverse temperatures were ones with which the osprey had to contend for several weeks.
As the sun became a familiar sight and the air transformed to more spring-like conditions, the bird couple had another challenge to face. A lone male osprey, searching for a nest, became a nuisance to our lovely pair, and in his aggressive search for a home the two males began a fight for territory and possibly for their lives. As our favorite defended his home and his mate – ospreys mate for life – he continued to chase the invader away and at times the two collided in midair, both tumbling to the ground only to rebound just before hitting the gravel and grass below. Sticks, from which the nest was made, fell to the ground as the birds wrangled. This battle continued throughout the day.
The morning after the ‘war in the sky’ is Easter Sunday. One hundred or more of us watch the glorious pink and orange of the sunrise over the great Potomac River as prayers are said, hymns waft through the air and hot coffee is poured. In the midst of our worship, birds of various species fly nearby catching their early morning breakfast from the gently lapping waters. And catty corner from the outdoor church service, high on a pole sets a lone osprey in the nest outside of our picture window.
Our hearts sink. Since there has been no sight of two of the feathered animals for 12 hours, one osprey or both of the battling birds must have died in the conflict leaving the other without a mate and a nest in need of serious repair. How sad. And then suddenly, the mate appears and joins its companion in the dilapidated nest. We are overjoyed! It is a happy ending in what could have been a tragic tale. And the jubilant outcome for the osprey couple reminds us of the victory of Easter we’re celebrating today.
And like the recent challenges of the nesting pair, we’ve had our share of trials and tribulations and we’ll continue to have them. However, we learn that those struggles become blessings because they make us dependent on HIM. And in our need and reliance we begin to see HIS beauty, HIS brilliance and HIS plan for only the good for us.
So on this Easter Day as we face our frustrations, our fears and our sorrows, we pray to keep HIM close in our hearts and minds. Because HE gives us hope, joy and life through death, as displayed through Christ’s resurrection which this beautiful Day commemorates, HE becomes our best friend and also our outstanding and loving teacher. And as we draw closer to HIM, we also pray we may become HIS example of how faith in HIM can overcome any obstacle, like the pair of osprey outside our picture window.
And because of our determination to know HIM, we will grow in strength and wisdom, and through HIS loving hand and because of the sacrifice of HIS only son, we will overcome and also be victorious, now and forever.