Into the Wind

by Nan Corbitt Allen

They’re loud and demanding and messy.

No, I AM NOT talking about my grandchildren. I’m talking about seagulls.

Recently, my husband and I were on the Gulf Coast of Florida for a few days of R & R. We spent a couple of those days just sitting on the beach watching the waves and the dolphins roll in and out of our view. Though I’ve been to the beach many times, I always learn something each time I go. (Maybe it’s because I choose to look for something new.) Anyway, this time I chose to watch and learn from the seagulls.

They’re scavengers, no doubt, and they find no shame in begging for morsels from unsuspecting beachcombers. Observation: don’t throw out anything edible if you don’t want to reenact a horror scene from a Hitchcock movie. This I already knew.

Observation: seagulls are almost always found in flocks. You hardly ever see one alone (no matter what the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull implies). Sometimes it’s a small flock, sometimes a huge herd. But I knew that, too.

But I did learn something new: seagulls in a flock, while on the ground, all face in the same direction. It was funny at first. A single gull might fly off for a few minutes, then return, but resumed the position of the others. It was as if he was compelled to fit in, or maybe careful not to ruffle the feathers of a higher-up in the pecking order? Was it east or west or something else that determined which way they all faced?

Finally, it dawned on me. They all faced into the wind.

When I got home, I did a little research and found that this was exactly what they were doing. It was the wind that determined their on-ground direction, and for a bird of flight, that is important. Seagulls need to vacate the beach quickly when danger arrives or when a food source suddenly becomes available. If their tail feathers are facing the wind, they would be less aerodynamic because of getting saltwater, sand, or debris under their down and feathers. So they protect themselves from harm by always being ready for flight by leaning into the wind.

Birds of flight have differences in their flight patterns.  Eagles soar to great heights. So do I sometimes. Ducks can fly long distances but not necessarily so high. Sometimes perseverance is required of me. 

But seagulls stand on the shore, feel the wind on their beaks, and wait for the next thing.

We go through different seasons in life. Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us: “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.” Right now, I’m not soaring to great heights or flapping furiously for distance. I actually find myself …waiting…leaning into the wind, and trying to respond as the wind changes, ready for whatever is coming. 

While God requires us to wait, sometimes all we can do is keep our face into the wind and be ready for when He finally says “go.”

My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken. Psalm 62:1-2 NASB

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Into the Wind – thoughts on facing life from Nan Corbitt Allen on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Nan Corbitt AllenAbout the author: Nan Corbitt Allen has written over 100 published dramatic musicals, sketchbooks, and collections in collaboration with Dennis Allen, her husband of 40 years. A three-time Dove Award winner, Nan’s lyrics and dramas have been performed around the world. Dennis and Nan have sold almost 3 million choral books.

Nan and Dennis live in Cleveland, GA where she teaches English and Creative Writing at Truett McConnell University. They have two grown sons and two beautiful grandchildren.

Nan’s book, Small Potatoes @ the Piggly Wiggly, is a collection of devotionals that reveal the seemingly insignificant routine experiences can have great impact on a life. She describes what she learned of God’s providence and wisdom while growing up in the Deep South in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Join the conversation: What has God revealed to you about Himself lately?

 

 

Into the Wind

by Nan Corbitt Allen

They’re loud and demanding and messy. No, I AM NOT talking about my grandchildren.

I’m talking about seagulls.

Recently, my husband and I were on the Gulf Coast of Florida taking a few days of R & R. We spent a couple of days just sitting on the beach watching the waves and the dolphins roll in and out of our view. And though I’ve been to the beach many times, I always learn something each time I go. (Maybe it’s because I choose to look for something new.) Anyway, this time I chose to watch and learn from the seagulls.

They’re scavengers, no doubt, and they find no shame in begging for morsels from unsuspecting beachcombers. Reflection: don’t throw out anything edible if you don’t want to reenact a horror scene from a Hitchcock movie. This I already knew from experience.

Observation: seagulls are almost always found in flocks. You hardly ever see one alone (no matter what the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull implies). Sometimes it’s a small flock, sometimes a huge herd. But I knew that, too.

Here’s what I did learn:  Seagulls in a flock, while on the ground, face in the same direction. It was funny at first. A single gull might fly off for a few minutes, then return and resume the position as if compelled to fit in or because he was being careful not to ruffle the feathers of the alpha male or a higher-up in the pecking order. Was it east or west or what that lined them up facing one way?

Finally it dawned on me. They all seemed to face into the wind.

When I got home, I did a little research and found that this was exactly what they were doing. It was the wind that determined their on-ground direction, and for a bird of flight, that is important. Seagulls need to vacate the beach quickly when danger arrives or when a food source suddenly becomes available. If their tail feathers are facing the wind they would be less aerodynamic and more in danger of getting saltwater, sand, or debris under their perfectly designed down and feather covering.

It just makes sense. They protect themselves from harm, by always being ready for flight by leaning into the wind.

Eagles can soar to great heights, and like Isaiah tells us, “Those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles” (Is. 40:31 CSB). Ducks can fly long distances but not necessarily so high. (That’s maybe why they are sometimes easy shots.) However, you have to give them credit for endurance. Like James says, “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:2 CSB).

Eagles fly high, and sometimes so do I. Ducks fly far, and often perseverance is required of me.

But seagulls stand on the shore, feel the wind on their beaks, and wait for the next thing. Right now, I’m not really soaring to great heights or flapping furiously for distance. Often I find myself …waiting…leaning into the wind a little, and trying to respond as the wind’s direction changes, ready for whatever is coming.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.   Psalm 91:1-4 ESV

Nan Corbitt AllenAbout the author: Nan Corbitt Allen has written over 100 published dramatic musicals, sketchbooks, and collections, most of these works in collaboration with Dennis Allen, her husband of 40 years. A three-time Dove Award winner for her musicals written with Dennis, Nan’s lyrics and dramas have been performed across the U.S. and around the world. Throughout their writing careers together, Dennis and Nan have sold almost 3 million choral books. Nan lives with her husband Dennis in Cleveland, GA where she teaches English and Creative Writing at Truett McConnell University.

Nan’s book, Small Potatoes @ the Piggly Wiggly, is a collection of devotionals that reveal the seemingly insignificant experiences that can have great impact on a life. She describes what she learned of God’s providence and wisdom while growing up in the Deep South in the 1950’s and 60’s. Bible passages given throughout the book make this a book for all readers.

Join the conversation: What kind of bird do you find yourself most like at present? Soaring the heights? Flying long distances? Or facing into the wind, ready for whatever God has for you next?