Wild Geese in the City

I live in a city famous for air pollution, across the river from a horrendously run-down section of Detroit. My neighborhood is decorated by abandoned shopping carts and graffiti. Two years ago the city workers went on strike for nearly the entire summer, and as weeds grew waist-high in our public parks and walking trails, the air was filled with the buzz of flies and wafting smells from temporary garbage dumps.

Yet, several times a year, into our man-made world of steel and smog come flocks of wild geese in their migrations. They fly overhead in perfect Vs and gather by the Detroit River, flocks of black-cheeked Canada geese with the occasional white interloper in their midst.

Their arrival makes me aware of a greater world outside of my own, a world of mystery and beauty where God feeds and directs all His creatures for His glory and pleasure. This is the world of sunsets and thunderstorms, of lightning and snow, of the deer that graze boldly along the highway through our city, and the insects that buzz in the summer trees.

Genesis 1 speaks of a week of creation, seven days in which man took up only the last: six days before that of earth and sky, water and stars, birds and beasts and beauty. It’s a world held together by incredibly precise and complex forces, a world scientific and mathematical, yet a world breathtakingly artistic. “What do I make of all this texture?” Annie Dillard wrote in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek:

“What does it mean about the kind of world in which I have been set down? The texture of the world, its filigree and scrollwork, means that there is the possibility for beauty here, a beauty inexhaustible in its complexity, which opens to my knock, which answers in me a call I do not remember calling, and which trains me to the wild and extravagant nature of the spirit I seek.”Wild geese in the city are a reminder to leave my little world behind, to abandon for a while my careful mental and social and emotional constructs, and to plunge into the wider world God created and said was good — to go and look at it, listen to it, breathe its air, feel its imagination, and worship God in it.

Read the whole article on Boundless, here.






3 responses to “Wild Geese in the City”

  1. Meredith Leigh Burton Avatar

    Thanks, and I’ve just discovered your excellent blog. Keep up the wonderful work.

  2. Rachel Avatar

    Thanks for that, Meredith! I loved reading your perspective. I have often thought the same thing (though probably not with the depth of appreciation you have)–God’s multi-sensory artistry is incredible.

  3. Meredith Leigh Burton Avatar

    What a truly beautiful article! Yes, our Father and friend has painted for us a vibrant canvas of beauty even in the bustling metropolis. As a blind individual, I appreciate that His artwork is not only visual, but also auditory and sensory in other ways. Listening to a fountain, to the melodic trilling of multiple birds, and smelling the sweet perfume of the air after a newly-fallen rain brings me such joy. God is the best artist around! Thanks and God bless you.

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