Today I settled.

For months (years, actually), I have determined to photograph some of nature’s shyest and most intriguing creatures by rising before dawn and trekking (automobile style) to a wildlife preserve only 30 minutes from where my mom lives.  Doesn’t seem like a hard task, but somehow it has never worked out.

Until today.

My expectations were high of course.  Surely, the elusive Idaho Panhandle Moose (or one of its relatives) could sense I was coming and would put be waiting … munching on the wetland grass at just the right distance so that neither of us would feel threatened.

Or a herd of deer …

Or a herd of elk …

I had seen the trails in this wetland many times  … something big tromps through  on a fairly regular basis.

My hopes peaked even higher (for the briefest of moments) when our host reported that a friend of his said he saw a moose just last week on the very trail I planned to venture to.

“Cool!” I just knew this would be my day.

“Yeah … well, the moose charged the guy while he was on his bike.  He had to ride like the dickens and then get into some closely clustered trees before she let up.”


Mike threw me the “I-don’t-like-this-whole-idea-very-much” look.

I ignored him, but did volunteer that maybe I would just stick to the wetland viewing area and not try to tackle the other trail on my own.

So … we set out early, just ahead of a spectacular sunrise (I really should try to fill my life with more sunrises), and I dropped Mike at a fishing spot a couple of miles away from my destination.

I’ll cut through the chase … the moose … and the deer … and sadly, the elk too … all did not get the message.  They did not show up for my fabulous photo shoot.

Truthfully, after hearing about the bike-charging-incident, I wasn’t quite as disappointed as I expected. I did find a beautiful trail along Plummer River and lots of wildlife … just smaller and much more ordinary.

My first thought was, “Squirrels, chipmunks, and ducks … they’re so ordinary.  I can take pictures of them anywhere.”

Suddenly, a “news flash” of sorts … I’m ordinary.  What if God, our Creator, had the same attitude towards me? I’m not a famous person, overly skilled, or dashingly beautiful.  I haven’t invented anything, been a philanthropist, or travelled the world.  Less than a thousand people are aware of my existence.  Only a hundred or so really know much about me at all.

And yet … for all my ordinariness, I am loved with fierceness by the God of Heaven and Earth.  He delights over me … His Son lived and died for me as much as for anyone else.  Ordinary but not overlooked.  Plain but not undesirable.  Broken but not unloved.

Ordinary might not be so bad after all.

So, I settled.  I took pictures of life in front of me, exquisite or not.  I cherished the ordinary as if I were on an African Safari with my camera. And you know what? It turned into an amazing morning.

Plummer Creek Trail

I don’t know who left this on the trail (kinda glad about that actually) …

Wildlife Scat

Or … who scuffed up this creek bed with their hoof prints.

Hoofprints on the beach

But I did play Billy Goat’s Gruff with a chipmunk who reminded me a whole lot of Barney Fife.  (scimper-scamper, run, jump, twirl, hide … so much nervous energy!)

Barney Fife the Chipmunk

And I made this new friend …

Squirrel Buddy.jpg

And I spied on this battle amongst swallows …

Swallow Fight 2

And, all in all, I had one of the most amazing, worship-filled mornings I’ve experienced in a long, long time. Thankful that sometimes settling leads to anything but ordinary.

“You alone are the Lord. You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars. You made the earth and the seas and everything in them. You preserve them all, and the angels of heaven worship You.” – Nehemiah 9:6