Dancing with the Wind

The majority of my nature writings are related to the mountains and surrounding beauty. I am a mountain girl pure and simple. Always have been. It’s where God speaks most clearly to my heart. However, about once a year, usually in the summer right after vacation, I write a piece or two about the ocean. I haven’t always heard God’s voice at the sea. As a child, I was more interested in playing in the waves or avoiding the seaweed to pay much attention. My trips to the beach as a teenager revolved around walking the shoreline slathered in baby oil. (It’s a miracle I didn’t get cancer. Oh wait….) Anyway, what I am trying to say is that as much as I loved the beach, I could only stay about a week before the grittiness of the sand got to me. It wasn’t until my adult years, with my own kiddos in tow that I finally took in the faithfulness of God’s voice at the ocean. The waves themselves seem to testify of this fact. I finally learned to sit and watch for his message to my heart, and each year he consistently gives me one.
There wasn’t a vacation planned this year until I decided to make myself one on the coattails of William’s SCAD orientation. I mean, Savannah is minutes from Tybee so why not just get a room there and steal some minutes on the shore? Forget the complication of having to have surgery just days before my trip…just go…live fully. That’s my motto right? God, in his wisdom, when I showed a lack of it, arranged it for Hannah to come along when she called an hour into our trip. We diverted our course, picked her up and headed south. She was truly sent by him to take care of me, I am convinced of it. All of that to say, I got in some beach time the past couple of days…hurray for that!
The distant horizontal line between green and blue was uninterrupted in both directions. There were no clouds out to sea, but over the land, there were 3-dimentional white puffs with pink and blue hues. They were configured in lines that reminded me of the cloud wallpaper in Toy Story. People were everywhere since we were at a public beach area near the pier, and so there was all manner of vacationing noise. Closing my eyes, and lying back in my chair I filtered out most of it except the children laughing, the waves rolling, and foam hissing as the waves crashed to the shore. The stiff sea breeze blew my hair () as the sun warmed and kissed my face. I ran the sand through my wiggling toes, just to feel it. I so love to abandon myself to napping to the soothing rhythm of the waves, and so I did. I was awakened by the sound of the gulls, and opened my eyes to see an entire flock flying around in the wind gusts. It appeared they were having a contest with the tide flags to see who could flap harder. To my surprise, no one was feeding them, which was my first thought when I saw them weaving and diving helter skelter all over the place.
So what in the world were they doing? Flapping their wings wildly straight into the wind, the gulls did not move forward at all. It is possible to fly in place…who knew? Then one bird would suddenly hold its wings steady, which thrust it backward forcefully, until it lifted one wing higher creating a dive bomb move rivaling a Kamikaze pilot. Inches from the sand (or a person’s head) the bird abruptly pulled out of the suicide maneuver and laughed…it sounded like a laugh to me anyway. Now multiply this by, say, 30 birds all randomly recreating their own version of this crazy behavior and you can imagine the scene. All of this was taking place just above the heads of beach goers, like a complex choreographed dance. I watched for a while to try to make sense of this strange performance when it struck me…they are playing. These gulls were having the time of their feathered lives dancing on the wind.
The lesson? …you ask. (Because you knew it was coming) Sometimes the wind of the Holy Spirit blows gently. He restores and fills your soul, refreshing you. Other times he blows a gust into your life…or maybe many gusts. To flap into the strong wind will wear you out and you will get nowhere. To do nothing will blow you away. It is in this moment that you must play with the wind, and learn to dance.

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