UP FOR DISCUSSION … As a caregiver, I am always looking for those moments of joy that bring me a renewed sense of energy and resolve. Even in the eye of a hurricane, there are wonders that can occur that make me smile!

| ,

As I continue to give thanks for the lack of drama around our most recent encounter with yet another “I” hurricane named Idalia, my deep gratitude this morning gave way to a sense of well-being that even with destructive and dangerous events comes wonder and joy at the working of Mother Nature.  I read a fascinating story written by Stephanie Hayes in the Tampa Bay Times this morning that speaks to the randomness of life and those unique and special moments that seem intended to remind us that we are front-row spectators to God’s amazing creations right here on Earth!

The story tells of the unexpected sighting of a flock of wild flamingos by residents living on Clearwater Beach.  It documents how rare of an event this is and educates that flamingos can actually be gray in color.  This small group was primarily the traditional pink but included a few of the gray ones too.  Author Hayes goes on to share that flamingos are “strong ambassadors for conservation” and are known for protecting habitats.  She also provided a little of their history noting that they used to be more commonly sighted in the wild but were mostly hunted into obsolescence because of … among other things … their colorful plumes making fine adornments to ladies’ hats in the late 1800s!  While considered native to Florida, flamingos are rarely spotted outside of the southern most areas of the state.

The fascinating part of the story though, is how they got this far north to be sighted in the first place.  Yes, you guessed it!  Climate change has been driving more tropical birds north, and one researcher’s speculation suggests that these flamingos were flying from the Yucatan to Cuba when they got swept up in the winds of Idalia and ended up further north than intended.  Thus, the residents of Clearwater got a rare brief sighting of flamingos in the wild in the Tampa Bay area … how cool is that?

For me, I have only seen a flamingo in captivity.  I haven’t even been to the Tampa Airport yet to view Phoebe, the ceiling tall photo op in TPA’s main terminal.  Yet this Times article documents incidents of these creatures being spotted in several places around Southwest Florida in the past few days … literally a remarkable response to the comment “look what the wind blew in”!  I am fascinated by this story and can only imagine the joy and wonder felt by those folks on Clearwater Beach at the sight.  In all the trauma we experience before, during, and after these hurricanes that plague our otherwise tropical paradise, God still provides evidence of the beauty and magnificence of nature.

My caregiver mind goes to what those flamingos must have gone through being caught up in that storm.  I wonder whether they fought its currents, struggled with the direction they were heading, or suffered great bewilderment at the strange place it eventually landed them.  I am left with this:  life can be challenging even for the magnificent flamingo; yet from the Tampa Bay Times story witnesses tell us they only hung around briefly then spread their wings again and headed back south!  Resilient.  Brave.  And capable of bringing great joy to others even in their struggles.  We are all God’s creation!


Up for Discussion:  What about you?  Did gratitude at a less than threatened Idalia bring with it any joy for you and/or your loved one(s)?  Do you ever feel even a small sense of wonder at surviving yet another of life’s storms?

Providing your email address will ensure that you are added to our eBlast newsletters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2023 Church of the Palms. All Rights Reserved.