What’s pink, bigger than a bread box, and likes to stand on one leg? You guessed it! Was it easy? Although there are no flamingos in my backyard, they are one of my favorite birds, as demonstrated by the fact that my grand kids like them. Well, also, they were the first bird I ever tried to draw. And, why not? For those of us who (like me) might be a bit artistically challenged, flamingos are one bird you can draw and people will always guess right. “Oh, you drew a flamingo! How nice!” Very affirming, unlike the baffled responses to crude drawings of little brown birds that might have been 1 of a 1000 birds…or maybe it was a bunny, or a toad, or a ??? At any rate, is there any other bird almost as big as Big Bird only pink (or orange, depending on how much carotene they ingest)…with a neck as long as a snake, a schnoz bigger than Groucho Marx’s, and one-legged balancing skills superior even to a Novoflex QLEG C 1-quadropod 4-section carbon fiber tripod? (What, you don’t carry one?!) Everybody loves a good flamingo, right? They’re even Bahamas’ national bird. Flamingos have exquisite plumage, and it’s my personal opinion that the wildly popular Spanish “flamenco” dance was based on the mating displays of flamingos, although nobody will stick their neck out enough to say it’s definitively true. One of my grandsons was willing to make a definitive statement about how they smell, however! In tropical areas, flamingos live in large colonies, although they also form strong bonds with their mates. And, even though they stick out like sore thumbs, there are good reasons why God made them with their distinctive characteristics.Their long necks are ideal for self-cleaning and for reaching down into the water …or for grazing for bugs and seeds in the grass. Flamingos are wading birds, so their long legs help them traverse deep water and their wide, webbed feet are ideal for balancing on land or sea. There propensity for standing on one leg may be a means of preserving heat, and their strangely angled black beaks are perfectly designed for digging through mud and filtering out tasty tidbits (like brine shrimp) from useless silt. (Of course, sometimes flamingos have their dinner served on wooden platters.) And here I want to stop for a little reflection. According to folklore, we should learn from flamingos how to filter things out of our life…to discard what is useless and keep what is beneficial. I like that! I need to remember the “flamingo filter” principle when it comes to cleaning house, eating, using the internet…and lots of other things!Did you know that many Americans have this thing for decorating with flamingos? We keep one in our garden room to make us feel all warm & tropical! Maybe our flaming flamingo can also help us remember to filter all the junk out of our lives and keep only what’s pure and beneficial!
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: this this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).