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A Bad Day Birding

God looked over everything God had made; it was so good, so very good! ~ Genesis 1:31

You have no doubt heard the expression that a bad day fishing is better than a good day at work. Now, your mileage may vary, and you may have other candidates for a replacement hobby, but I can assure you that a bad day birding is better than a good day at work (and I really like my work!). The real problem is defining what a bad day of bird-watching is.

One the one hand, every day birding is a bad day. There is always one more bird to chase. There is always that bird that refused to be identified, maybe an empidonax flycatcher that wouldn’t sing, or a warbler that just wouldn’t move from behind that branch to show whether it had wing bars or not. The list is never quite long enough when the time comes to call it quits.

On the other hand, every day birding is a great day. Even the day with the shortest list was a learning experience and got you away from potential doldrums and included some fresh air and exercise. Almost every field trip includes surprises, whether a “first of the season,” or observing some behavior that is new to you. That is not even mentioning those exceptional days when the warblers are dripping from the trees or the mega-rarity poses in the perfect light.

It is tragic that so much preaching from the beginning of Genesis is about the Fall. Sure, there is a nod to the wonder of creation, but mostly as a way of pointing to the majesty and power of the Creator. Then there is a quick pivot to the story of human disobedience. Yes, there are two takes on the story of creation, with the second one focusing on the behavior of the archetypal humans, who have set us on a path outside of the Garden. Still, both stories demonstrate the love of God for all of creation and all of the creatures. Perhaps it is our focus on the doctrine of original sin that has prevented us from perceiving the heart of the first story, original blessing! How easily we ignore the sacred approval repeatedly shown in the story. Every time God looks at the divine handiwork, God exclaims, “Wow! Just look at how good that is.” So, yes, there will always be bad days, but the bottom line is that nothing can be perfectly awful as long as we remember that we are surrounded by a perfectly wonderful creation.

Prayer: Great Maker, when I’m having a bad day, help me hear the echo of your joyous shout that everything has been created very, very good...even me. Amen.


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