A quick one this time, but an important one.
Regardless of whether or not you’re interested, within the first few minutes of meeting me you will learn that I love birds. I think most “bird people” are like that.
Why birds? Because they changed my life.
When you go outside, you will almost always see or hear a bird. It’s easy for birds to become part of the wallpaper of the outdoors: we encounter them so often that they usually go unnoticed. I know, because I was that way.
But someone had to draw my attention to the details before birds could change my life. (By the way, that someone is Dr. Jason Courter).
…And that’s when it happened. I realized that if hope was a physical being, it would be a bird.
Though small and delicate, birds have unimaginable endurance. Consider these two species:
The Arctic Tern has the longest migration of any bird. Weighing in at .2 pounds, they travel almost 50,000 miles each year — from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back. In it’s lifetime, one of these birds will fly ~1.5 million miles. When I visited Anchorage, Alaska in 2015, I happened across one sitting on a boardwalk, and I wept.
How about the hummingbird? There’s a good chance you’ve seen one of these before. This is a Ruby-throated Hummingbird. This tiny, 3 gram animal flies ~1,200 miles without ever stopping…not to catch it’s breath, not to eat, not to drink. Period. They even fly right over the open water of the Gulf of Mexico. Imagine being out at sea and seeing a hummingbird. Crazy thought, but it happens.
But when I hold one of these little birds in my hand, it becomes impossible for me, even with all of the scientific knowledge, to fathom how they contain such potential.
If I hold them too tightly, I could easily damage their delicate respiratory system. Their legs are more fragile than the branches on which they stand. Their bones are hollow. But each of these birds has seen more than most of us ever will, and from a perspective we can only imagine.
Birds are like hope: though often fragile and precariously perched within the human soul, it has gifted us with a song, and unimaginable endurance in the face of impossible journeys.
The next time you see a bird, take 30 seconds to watch it and think about its potential. I hope that it teaches you never to underestimate those people and things that seem fragile…not even yourself.