MAR 31, 2002
MULTI-SPECIES ATTENDANCE AT EASTER SUNRISE SERVICES
In spite of announcements in the media as close as Huntsville and as far away as South Dakota, I feared light attendance at our annual Easter Sunrise Services at The Holy Trinity Wilderness Cathedral.
The weather forecast for Easter was not good; overcast skies and sporadic rain showers.
We left the house at 6:00 a.m. in order to arrive at 6:13, the time that the sun was to rise at our latitude and longitude on Planet Eden.
Along the way a skunk darted across our path and a few deer stood grazing along the roadside. We met nary a vehicle along the road and joked about how everyone must have already arrived. Cathedral Drive, the State Highway that juts six-tenths of a mile into the heart of the Wilderness was equally deserted.
Beyond the gate the road turned muddy from the thunderstorms and hail from the evening before. Finally we spotted a vehicle parked at the end of the part that is traversable by ordinary cars.
There was only one human, other than ourselves in attendance, our Buddhist Deacon!!!
We dried off our chairs as best we could and began our silent vigil to welcome the sun and to give thanks to God for the renewal of the Earth and all Creation.
As Planet Eden turned and the sky became lighter with the sun gleaming down upon the clouds from above, the world came alive with visitors to our services. First came flocks of Snowy Egrets flying in formation just inches above the waves. Lone Great Blue Herons flew in straight lines at higher elevations crossing paths, each with an individual destination. Later three Little Blue Herons in V formation crossed over the Cross.
I went to the jeep to retrieve my binoculars to better observe our feathered visitors. The Osprey nest was empty and below the nest hundreds of Cormorants normally hang out; but they too were gone.
I walked to the Cross at the waters edge and there across the little inlet were both Ospreys, attentively looking toward the eastern horizon as if they too had come to observe the sunrise, or in this instance the dawn of a new day, the sun still hiding behind the clouds.
When I returned to the shore on the other side of the narrow peninsula, a huge flock of Cormorants burst into the air from the bottom of the low cliff just below us. They had been with us the whole time without our knowledge. Apparently the hail storm of the evening before had forced them to leave their normal perch on the power pole below the Osprey nest and seek shelter at the bottom of the cliff at the waters edge.
Meanwhile great flocks of blackbirds careened into the topmost branches of the ancient oaks over our heads, leaving in unison just as suddenly as they had arrived and then wheeling and turning and landing once again.
A lone otter swam lazily by as if oblivious to the displays of aerial acrobatics taking place all around.
Amongst the other attendees at our marvelous Festival of Joy, were terns, gulls, martins, vultures, swallows, coots, and of course a choir of Cardinals.
We admired the ever changing colors as sunlight attempted to penetrate various layers of clouds. Although most of the colors, other than the green of the emerging new growth of Spring, were various shades of gray the contrasts were against the backdrop of the dancing waves of the Holy Trinity was quite grand.
After eating our red-died Easter eggs we left for home, marveling at the great and unexpected visitors to our Easter Sunrise Services and feeling sorry for those teeming masses of humanity that will never leave the comforts of their homes and church buildings to ever experience an Easter morning as designed and choreographed by God.
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