“And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.’ So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good.” - Genesis 1:20
One has only to spend the better part of an hour with a Roseate Spoonbill to restore faith in an all-powerful and imaginative God. Just this afternoon my husband and I set off on the time-honored occupation of a Sunday drive to nowhere in particular.
The day started off fine, with an accidental swipe past Countryside Farms where we gave ourselves permission to enjoy the famous vanilla-orange swirl ice cream, before lunch. Our moms weren’t with us to tell us we couldn’t. Sorry mom.
We ended up inland a bit, at the historic town of Fellsmere, testing fare at the nearly hundred-year-old Marsh Landing, where fried frog legs, fried pickles, fried green tomatoes and fried alligator reign supreme. Usually adventurous, I confess that the chicken salad salad, yes both, satisfied deeply.
Next time we’ll swing through for breakfast, not an option today, because well, it’s Sunday and the morning was otherwise gloriously occupied. Meeting interesting people always tops the list of adventure highlights and the day didn’t disappoint. Our waitress moved to Fellsmere after graduating Vero Beach High School more than 45 years ago, bought a bunch of land and a horse, and made a life beneath the tropical palms north of town.
We switched drivers and I headed for the canal at the famous Stick Marsh, a 6,500 area impoundment of water known as one of the top ten trophy bass fishing spots in the state. There were anglers everywhere to be sure, but the prize waited at the end of the parking lot, where a handful of appreciative tourists, day workers, and Sunday drivers paused to appreciate the flamingo-pink birds flying overhead. “What on earth”, we considered, until I recalled a recent news article about the Roseate Spoonbill, with their flat, spoon-like beaks, and radiant pink feathers swooping full-tilt back and forth in front of us as if prompted by trainers at a Disney aviary show.
But no, our adventure did not take us to Disney, or the Zoo or on an African Safari. Our Sunday afternoon drive drew us north and west of town to witness God’s splendor showing off for free. Thank God for the Roseate Spoonbill, that knows nothing of our human trials, disputes or tribulations. They flew in tandem as if for the sheer joy of the thing, landing thick as thieves on the mud flats, plucking shellfish from pools as if gathered on the ranch for Sunday dinner.
The cacophony of crow and heron, egret, coot and limpkin, created a sound track for the stars of the show, until the sun drew down our little expedition. With no small measure of regret, we turned the car for home. We retreated then from nowhere in particular, deeply grateful for the extravagant gifts of God.
Thanks be to God. Amen
God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you,
Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland
Senior Minister, The Community Church of Vero Beach, Florida