I was minding my own business as I drove home from Christmas shopping when an SUV darted smack in front of me from the left side of the road. Crossing from the west to the east across a north-south parkway, the driver perceived that all four lanes were empty. But not mine.
Had I been looking down or distracted for a second, I would have hit him/her broadside. But I did see him. I braked and honked a warning. The vehicle never braked or slowed, but continued crossing at full speed to the east side of the parkway.
Wow! How fortunate I did not hit him. Was he blind or just bold?
Not one second later, I saw another party decide to cross the parkway from the west as well. As I approached the stop sign, I could see them on the other side of the intersection.
Mommy and Poppy Quail skittered to what they hoped and planned on being the other side of the parkway just like the SUV. But upon arriving in the turn lane of the median, they abruptly stopped. A slow moving vehicle was coming towards them in the turn lane.
As soon as Mommy and Poppy halted, so did the three or four youngsters who had skittered along behind them. They almost crashed into their backsides. They huddled into each other, and paused but only for half a second. Poppy seemed to be giving them directions.
“Stop, children! We cannot cross over after all! A massive obstruction is in our path. We have to go back. Go back! Go back!”
At the very moment of this brief pause, another covey of young quails had begun their crossing from the west as well, following right behind the three or four youngsters now stopped with the parents. As if by magic, this group seemed to know Father was warning them. The very second the children stepped backwards to return in the direction from which they had come, so did the latter covey. They looked like synchronized swimmers turning around together, taking off for the shoreline.
Mommy and Poppy lost no time in following the turn tail runners and so brought up the rear. I laughed out loud to watch them all scurry back across the street they had just seconds before seemed confident they could cross safely. Their little feet ran smoothly and without stumbling, back through the two vacant west lanes. They hopped the curbed so fast I marveled how they could work so perfectly together. Did they speak some kind of gutteral low decibel Quail Language?
They were adorable! I was fascinated. But in no more than a blink they were gone. I could not be sure but suspected they took cover in the bushes of the sidewalk restaurant. I imagined them panting together in a huddle, quivering with excitement over the narrow escape. I bet they were exchanging little bird noises again.
I wanted a replay but it was over. It was so sweet, I lingered there.
Lord, two crossings in less than ten seconds flat. What is this about. How marvelous are Your creations- man with his intelligence to make and drive a car and birds with enough sense to flee.
Yet man is so foolish, throwing his superior common sense to the curb by crossing lines he has no business crossing. Though endowed with so much less than we, the quails crossed back, using their instincts to pull them out of danger. They obeyed the law of ebb and flow, removing themselves when the flow reversed. The human ignored it.
Forgive us, Lord. You have given us common sense and ruling laws of protection much more than the basic instinct of a quail.
Can we quit thinking that because we step into a large, heavy car that we can cross any line we want to? Can we quit thinking that we can be careless with Your extravagant grace and ignore your readiness to save us? Humble and alert us, Lord. Amen.