Reflection Masthead
Issue 121 - Radical Amazement - January 2015

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Soaring Wonder
For more on the whooping cranes, check out this helpful website or this Texas Parks and Wildlife video.
Whooping Cranes at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge  - Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official] 

Past Issues


2-Creating Sacred Space

3-Leaving Footprints


5-Ordered Life

76-Vanier Visit

87-Wondrous Fear, Holy Awe

91-Crater Lake


101-On Reflections 

102-Morning Moments

104-Into Self Into God

107-First Home

108-NBA Championship

110-On Freedom 

112 Robin Williams 


114-Simple Acts 

116-Kentucky Epiphany 

119-Christmas Mystery  


Link to all past issues   




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On Seeing Wonder


There is a field in Lamar, Texas, that is much like any other field. Cattle graze inside barbed wire. There is a marshy pond. Up the hill, live oaks grow, bent and twisted by the coastal winds.

It is a field much like any other field - except for the visitors who come, year after year. You might call them "winter Texans." They come all the way from northern Canada. They do not drive; they fly - but they never buy a ticket. They are the whooping cranes, the tallest Whooping Cranes birds in North America.

This week, I saw at least seven adult whooping cranes in that field. (There may have been more, moving in and out of the marsh grasses by the pond). Beside the adults, gleaming white in the sun, there were also three mottled chicks - each "chick" larger than an adult turkey.

I watched two adults fly from one end of the field to the pond: huge black-tipped wings, spanning nearly 7 feet, beating short, powerful strokes. On these wings, they have flown across the bay from the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas Gulf Coast. On these wings, they have flown nearly three thousand miles from their summer breeding ground in Canada. On these wings, these two grand birds - constituting nearly one percent of their species' total wild population - continue to fly - despite all the threats of extinction.

There is a field in Lamar, Texas, that is much like any other field. There is a field in Lamar, Texas, that contains wonders. Not only do great birds journey far to visit. There are other wonders as well: Sunshine turns rain and dirt into grass. Grass turns into milk, frisky calves and beefsteak. Even in January, tiny wildflowers bloom.

O Lord, grant me eyes to see your wonders. In every field. On every day.

                                                             - Bill


Brimming with Brilliance
       I fondly remember my father, R.T., picking up an acorn from a pile of leaves and reciting Joyce Kilmer's "Trees" -I think I shall never see / a poem as lovely as a tree.... He would marvel at how that tiny acorn could grow into a mighty oak tree.

       Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote, "Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement. ....get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed." Heschel also said, ""The surest way to suppress our ability to understand the meaning of God and the importance of worship is to take things for granted ... Indifference to the sublime wonder of living is the root of sin."

       Some people never cease to be amazed, so the saying goes. But wonder is the spark that sensitizes us to the greatest marvel of all: that we exist, and that we are conscious of our existence. Last week some friends dropped by for a visit and Wayne noticed a remnant of the Christmas decorations: a glowing wine bottle filled with a string of tiny white lights. He marveled at its beauty and how the lights filled the wine bottle to make a light that shown with brilliance. A wine bottle - and just imagine! the world is brimming with brilliance! "'Replete is the world with a spiritual radiance, replete with sublime and marvelous secrets. But a small hand held against the eye hides it all,' said the Baal Shem."

       The hand can hold an acorn in wonder or hide it all.


                                                                 --by Jan 

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Sincerely,  Bill Howden & Jan Davis
Soul Windows Ministries