Photo and Commentary ©2023 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Identity is an important part of who we are. Child psychologists talk a lot about helping your child to have a positive self-image and there is undoubtedly good reason for this. Have you ever wondered how Leah must have felt being described as the sister who had the “weak eyes”? I know, weak has been interpreted as gentle, tender, soft, and other less offensive terms, but I suspect it was not intended to be complementary. Probably the CEV comes close when they render it, “her eyes didn’t sparkle”. (Genesis 29:17)

Maybe it’s my imagination but I put the saltators into the same group as Leah. The genus is a group of with thick bills, strong legs and feet, and relatively long tails which live in Central and South America. Prior to the 21st century when DNA studies became popular, they were placed in the cardinal family, but more recently have been assigned a place alongside the tanagers. In general, they are not particularly eye-catching, unlike some of the cardinals and the gorgeous tanagers. Even though the name saltator comes from Latin and means dancer, that’s of no particular help. The Buff-throated Saltator is just one of this group and can be found in the humid lowlands foraging in forests and gardens from southeastern Mexico to northeastern Brazil.

From all appearances it doesn’t look like this saltator is in the least bit affected by its lack of glitter. It continues to feed on seeds and buds, filling well the role to which it was assigned—not too different from the role assigned to one of Leah’s offspring. One day the Lion of the Tribe of Judah will receive the full glory He deserves. Then, we can all dance for joy.