A Bird Called Bob

Strange and challenging times continue. This isolation does get tedious. It’s easy to be impatient and focus on the freedom lost – for now. Then I browse the faces and stories of those around the world who have died, the strain on doctors, nurses, caregivers, workers…. It’s sad and sobering. And I want to complain about staying safely at home?

Better to embrace with gratitude. Many of us have so much more than many in the world could dream of or aspire to. I need to remember that truth with humility. To continue to cultivate a spirit of thankfulness, generosity, and contentment. To make the most of today with appreciation and creative expectation. These are times to plant and cultivate, perhaps to weed and recreate. No time for wasting or boredom. Anything can release inspiration. Which brings me to Bob.

John, come quickly. Look what’s at the bird feeder!” My wife beckoned me excitedly and I followed her through the house to peer out the kitchen window at a large brown and white turkey strutting around. At first we thought someone’s turkey had escaped. We put out the word on our local Facebook page. “Lots of wild turkeys around these parts,” was the reply. “Will make a great Thanksgiving meal,” was another common response.

That was nearly a week ago. The bird’s still here.

I named him Bob on the fourth day. The first was spent settling in around the bird feeder at the edge of the forest. In the evening he sheltered under the eve of the house and didn’t venture far. What’s a tom turkey doing in my yard? Self-isolating? Perhaps he’ll be gone tomorrow.

The next day he remained in the same area, not saying much, seemingly content to strut and peck from time to time. But he was moving further out as dusk fell and boldness grew.

On the third day the turkey was strutting up to the driveway, starting to shout out from time to time; beginning to act like he was taking over. That evening he flew onto the roof where he perched into the afternoon of the next day. He was enamored with the stainless steel chimney of the wood stove. At last he’d found company that would take him a while to figure out was no more than a reflection of himself.

After working in the garden much of the day I figured it was time to show who was the dominant male around this establishment. I clambered onto the roof and confronted Bob. If he was going to be around he needed a name and to get off his high horse/perch. I waved my arms and made a noise. He resisted at first, then with a flurry of wings hit the ground and proceeded to ferret around for food as if nothing had happened.

That night he perched back on the roof but the next morning as I took the garbage to the curb Bob was already breakfasting in the driveway. By this time he’d also discovered turkeys in cars and started pecking at his reflection there as well. No indication that he was going anywhere soon.

This morning he flew the fence and is now claiming ownership of the garden. If I talk to him in the wrong tone he answers with indignation.

Isolation begins to make you do strange things. I knew that a dove descended on Jesus at his baptism in the Jordan as a sign of the Holy Spirit anointing Him. What can a turkey mean? I looked it up. Unfortunately I drew a blank in terms of deep spiritual significance. But use the metaphor anyway I guess.

The biggest lesson is that since Bob’s unexpected arrival he’s been given freedom to be here in safety and explore to his heart’s content. I believe that’s God’s heart for each of us. Acceptance, welcome, safety to explore as we abide. Believe His invitation to be still, and to be curious. Be unafraid to spread your wings and fly in new directions.

It’s a process (my favourite saying). Sometimes we perch on the roof and gaze upon our reflection (introspect) for too long and someone needs to chase us off. We might initially squawk and flap our wings; but it may be the very thing we need to help us get moving.

That’s what I’ve been learning from a strange self-isolating bird, now called Bob.

Come Alive……


Come alive, come alive, come alive dry bones
Come alive, come alive, come alive dry bones
Awake, arise
Inhale the light
Come alive, come alive

I’m gonna sing to you dry bones
Until you’re covered in life
And the valleys bloom
Like a rosebud in the light

Hear the call to attention
Feel the change in the air
For the ground is dry
But the clouds are overhead

I’m gonna sing it again

Come alive, come alive, come alive dry bones
Come alive, come alive, come alive dry bones
Awake, arise
Inhale the light
Come alive, come alive

Are you waiting on heaven
Or is it waiting on you
For the Holy Ghost is already in the room

So you better get ready
‘Cause who knows what He’ll do
Where the four winds blow there’s a
Breakthrough, breaking through

And I’m prophesying again

Come alive,…

John Cox

Christian Author

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