Change of Seasons

It was a bright, sunny March day at the Lakes. And, yes, in agreement with what some consider typical of this month, there was a brisk breeze over the waters. Sitting by the shore, I observed a lone American Coot paddling around and "up-ending" to grab a bite of vegetation from below the water surface. Its distinctive feet revealed that it was not a duck -- specifically, the lack of complete webbing easily seen when a Coot leaves the water and walks on land.


Surveying the scene before me, I soon noticed the absence of the many ducks that had inhabited these lakes just weeks before. The call of Spring had sent them northward to find a suitable place to nest and raise a family. Of the winter visitors, even those still remaining were fewer in number. It is always sad to see them go, but it is the season for bringing new duck-life into being! But, there are those who find Santee Lakes the perfect place to live during the warm season -- such as the Cliff Swallow seen gliding in the sky above the water. It's time to keep an eye out for new arrivals!

Out across the lake, a White Pelican -- having not yet left the area -- could be seen floating serenely. Suddenly it rose up on great outstretched wings and, taking several steps upon the water, took flight.  But its flight was not long as it came to a landing on the water close by. Why paddle there when you can fly?!

As I walked along the lake shore, many familiar inhabitants made their presence known, many having become "friends" because of repeated sightings.  Among them were a Yellow-rumped Warbler flying out from its perch in a tree to catch passing insects and a Snowy Egret standing like a statue by the side of some rushing water eyeing it for a passing fish. If you look closely, you will see its bright "golden slippers" -- a fail-safe identifying feature. 

Suddenly, the low resonate sound of a Bull Frog broke the relative quiet as it "spoke" from its hiding place in the rushes by the shore. And, as I passed beneath the overhanging branches of a tree, a Belted Kingfisher burst out from its perch with a rush of wings and its rattling call. 

It is a time of changes as Spring arrives, but for some it appeared as life went on as usual.  A "flotilla" of Ruddy Ducks, year-round residents of the Lakes, rested on the reflective surface of the water. The sunlight sparkled like diamonds on the water. But, there was subtle change here as well. As the breeding season approached, the bills of the male Ruddys were turning a surprising blue shade -- a most attractive feature to the females I'm sure.

With the passage of time, it is impossible to not recognize all the changes that take place. Some bring joy in seeing what is new, even as the former things are missed -- like with the changes of the seasons. As each season in nature brings its uniqueness, each new season of life brings with it what God wants us to experience. Sometimes there are periods of difficulties when we grow as we walk with God through them; sometimes there are seasons of rest when we can stop and see life with new perspective.  
"There is a time for everything, 
and a season for every activity under the heavens." (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

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