From sunset to sunrise this morning the air temperature ranged from -11F to -16F. From sunset yesterday to mid-morning today these Canada Geese and Trumpeter Swans “roosted” or rested and slept on the ice. Ice, solid, frozen water with a surface temperature near that of the subzero air. Expressed another way: very cold. Webbed feet and heads were tucked under downy feathers. In this position both heads and feet were in a temperature above freezing.
Regardless of the insulating features of goose and swan down, heat escaped. These birds, moments before had been in the tucked position-head and feet in down. The white on their backs and necks is frost. The slow radiation of heat from each bird’s body gradually coated their necks, the tops of heads and backs with white frost. This is more evidence of the extreme cold they survived overnight. My presence caused them to stand up. One flew farther away. They sat down in moments after they perceived no threat.
Know this. They were in no way stressed. They displayed normal behavior. One response they displayed to the cold was an unwillingness to move. They were comfortable, cold yes, but comfortable. They were and are acclimatized. Cold is a standard feature of life for them in January.
My mind and heart respond in unison to the sight of waterfowl living life in winter. My eyes witnessed a miracle this morning. Both beautiful and powerful, this miracle occurs each day, all winter. It is the physical presence of Swans and geese in the same community as my home. This miracle also fills heart and mind with peace. These birds modeled to what no anxiety looks like, no fear, only careful watchfulness. These birds exemplified awe. Seeing them at rest, with frost on their feathered backs never fails to astonish me.
One other thing, the physical example from the swans and geese. They remind me to view the life God has given me as a gift a miraculous gift. The birds provided physical evidence. A man famous to the world for his brilliant mind once said this about life and miracles:
“There are only two ways to live life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein
What if we lived each day viewing life as the miracle it is?