Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
A cosmopolitan bird it is, breeding in North America, Europe, and Asia; and then flying south to winter in South America, Africa, and Australia. Like most members of its family, the Common Tern dives into water in pursuit of small fish upon which it feeds. In doing so it will sometimes immerse its head, but seldom goes entirely under water. Its long, pointed wings make it a master of flight, enabling it to hover when potential prey is sighted. But even with these abilities terns must adjust to cope with existing conditions. On very calm days when there is little or no wind, the placid waters allow the fish to see a hovering bird overhead. If the wind is too strong, the birds find it more difficult to launch an accurate diving trajectory. Thus, ideal conditions would be days when a light breeze creates ripples on the water yet not disrupting their hunting accuracy.
It would be nice if every day was ideal: no traffic problems, no computer glitches, and no intrusions by those whose goal in life seems to be to make life as annoying as possible. Nice, but not reality. The wind in our lives is in constant flux. Peter realized it after walking on water. Paul experienced both a calm and hurricane gales while on board ship. (Acts 27) And you and I are no strangers to extremes either. The good news is we can have the same confidence the disciples expressed while going through those extremes. “…He got to his feet and rebuked the wind and the waters and there was a great calm. The men were filled with astonishment and kept saying, ‘Whatever sort of man is this – why, even the wind and the waves do what he tells them!’” (Matthew 8:26,27 J.B. Phillips New Testament)