Sometimes it is the little things which delight our souls. The search had been challenging. The baby we were trying to find was elusive, well hidden by its protective mother. We travelled from dam to dam, checking the undergrowth and surrounding grasses for evidence of their presence. Often, on a cool sunny day they could be spotted on the banks, enjoying the sunshine.
But not today. We had been hunting for a couple of hours. Not to kill, you understand, but to revel in the ugly beauty of the Creator’s imagination. What had He been thinking when He created the hippo? There was a fascination with its bulk. It appeared to be so cumbersome, yet I remember the first time I had seen one moving underwater. There was an intriguing grace about the way it danced across the dam. Almost as if it could hear music in its mind and was dancing in a ballet – Swan Lake, perhaps. It was beautiful. And ever since then I have been captivated by their ungainly grace.
Yes, I know the words are contradictory. But that is what they are. Ungainly and graceful. Argue if you will, but I am happy with my description!
Anyway, today was not to be the day when we found our hippo. Today was to be the day when we were delighted at a viewing on a tiny bush by the side of the road.
It was a straggly bush – mere sticks, really – but its bare branches offered lookout points to small birds. Here they could see across the top of the veld – and here we could see them.
One, at first, came fluttering down to rest on the tallest branch. Squeaking its sharp call, it sought sustenance. We were thrilled to see this orange breasted sunbird, its breast feathers bright in the sunlight, in sharp contrast to the greens that surrounded it. Another joined it, two jewels on the pale grey twigs of the straggly bush. This was a find, indeed. To see two together was a treat.
But then, in all its splendor, a third came down. Like brilliant gems set in a crown they perched on the very top of the bush, shrilling their presence to the world. They were there together for a mere ten seconds, but it was a special snippet of time when their presence lit up our world. A sighting indeed. A tiny glimpse of the beauty of creation and the imagination of our God.
They flew, startled by some movement or some perceived danger, imperceptible to us.
But they will be remembered …