True story. First a little background.

Hidden in the woods near my house is an old deteriorating cabin. For several years, black vultures have used its interior for nesting and hatching their young.

When the new generation of two or three reach maturity but not full independence, they come out and frequent my driveway.

I figure if I move at a reasonable gait when I’m outside they will know I am still alive and will not pounce on me.

I have no fear of them and neither do they have any fear of me, so we coexist just fine.

The other day I looked out and saw one of the big black birds washing his feet in the bird bath. Every now and then he would take a short drink, lift his ugly head, and act as if he owned the place. What a contrast he was to the cardinals, bluebirds, and other beautiful bird friends that stop by to flutter their feathers in the water and drink appreciatively from the basin.

Shortly the vulture hopped down and sauntered to the nearby lamppost in the yard. Attached to the post near the ground is a nicely printed sign, one of many distributed throughout the community this spring by a benevolent group intent on lifting spirits during these pandemic times. Three lines read” “Hope isn’t- Cancelled- He is risen.”

The vulture stepped closer to the sign to get a better look. He stood, studying. Then, I kid you not, he ran his black beak from left to right under each line of words as we might run our finger when teaching a child to read. In a moment he turned slightly to look at me, as he was fully aware that I was watching from the patio. It was as if he were asking for my interpretation. When apparently he saw none was coming, he cocked his head to the side and looked upward toward the sky for an explanation.

Whether or not he gained insight I can only guess, but he stood quietly as if listening. Then he spread his wings wide, made a few hops, and headed for the woods. He would patiently accept the present but be in readiness to answer his calling to clean up the roads and countryside if and when an opportunity presented itself.

I can’t say that I want to be like a buzzard, but I could sometimes practice more patience with the present, just as long as I don’t forget what I’m here for when an opportunity to serve comes along.