Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

July 28, 2010

Ibis the Brave

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am


For many years we lived in Miami.  In addition, we have lived on the west coast and in the panhandle of Florida.  We have experienced hurricanes and know through personal experience the disaster they can bring.  There is a bird, however, that knows more about hurricanes than anyone.

The ibis is no stranger to hurricanes, especially in south Florida.  These remarkable birds exhibit a strength and courage during hurricane times.  These long legged wading birds can be a mascot for us during hurricane season, as well as other stormy times in our lives.

Of course, the ibis is already a mascot.  We lived close to the entrance of the University of Miami.  During pep rallies and sporting events, you could see the largest ibis that can be found.  It, of course, is not one that can fly.  In fact, it even walks differently from the ibis in the wild.  And the name is Sebastian!  It is the mascot for the University of Miami, a costumed student much, much larger than the real thing.

The American White Ibis is the mascot for the University.  This creature was selected because of its bravery.  The ibis is the last sign of wildlife to take shelter before a hurricane hits, and  is the first to reappear once the storm has passed.  This spirit of waiting until the last moment to retreat is a sign of strength and confidence.  Being the first to emerge and return after the passing of a hurricane also exhibits a spirit of bravery.

Not only do the ibises portray courage, they show leadership.  Folklore maintains that all the other birds look to the ibis for leadership.  The ibis uses its instinct to detect danger, and the other birds follow the leadership of the ibis.  They seem to understand that the ibis is preparing to evacuate, and they depart immediately.  The other birds likewise will not return to their habitats until they observe the ibis returning.  The ibis seems to have a kinship with the Marines who lead the way!

I add to these characteristics of the ibis, intelligence.  This is seen in the way they find their favorite food–the crayfish.  Crayfish escape the heat by burrowing under moist soils along the shoreline.  This make it harder for the ibis to find the crayfish.  But the ibis outsmarts the crayfish.  As the ibis sees the small burrow, the ibis drops bits of dried mud into the hole.  This covers the opening.  The ibis watches and when the crayfish begins to dig itself out of the mud and appear, the ibis grabs it!  Is that instinct or intelligence?

These wonderful creatures have characteristics that express some needs in our lives.  One, the sense of courage and bravery.  Whether facing a hurricane or a difficult time in life,  there is a call for courage and strength.  We might not be able to control the circumstance that we face, but we do not have to cower away or faint.  There is that strength for us.  “The Lord gives strength to his people.”  (Psalm 29:11)  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.”  (Psalm 46:1)

Leadership we also desire.  Not necessarily that we be the leader, but that we have one who can give leadership over our life.  As with courage and strength, we look beyond ourselves.  We do not have to go alone through unchartered events in our life.  There is One who will always walk before and with us.  We do have a leader if we will turn to Him.  “In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. (Exodus 15:13)  “But thanks be to God, who always leads us . . . .”  (2 Corinthians 2:14) 

The ibis is a creature of nature.  Nature is a teacher.  Don’t miss all the lessons that abound about us!



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