Sitting on our balcony looking out at the water early in the morning, my husband and I observed an egret in the water. Scavengers and beggars, though they be, they walk with such graceful preciseness and have such a regal look.
This egret moved it legs so pristinely and carefully through the water which was only a few inches deep. It moved its long neck in curly cues turning its head this way and that looking for breakfast.
All of a sudden, its neck, which must have been well over a foot long, went rigid at a 60 degree angle for several seconds. It looked almost painful and I wondered if the egret would tip over. Then, just like that, the head went into the water and came back with a fish securely in its beak. We watched as the little lump, the fish, went down that long neck, and wondered how aware the fish was of exactly what was happening.
I’ve taught my fifth grade students about refraction – how light bends as it passes through water and other substances. That’s why our legs look shorter in the water. That’s also why if you were going to grab or spear a fish, you would probably miss, because refraction makes you see it a little ways from where it actually is.
The egret must have been aware of this seeming trick of nature and learned that if it peered into the water from that angle, it had a better shot at the fish.
The Bible tells that the world is not as it seems. Many things inviting are deadly and things that we think are boring turn out to be incredibly fulfilling. We are told not to look at that which is seen, but that which is unseen. That fish would have been unseen to my eyes or unattainable to my ability, but the egret, for survival, has learned how to ‘see the unseen’.
Have you learned that yet? To look beyond, knowing that the refraction of the natural is deceptive and the seeing of the supernatural is the clearest vision, is one of the greatest accomplishments in life. It’s keeping that egret alive, and it will keep you alive as well.