St. Francis and the Seagull

posted in: Peace, Photography | 2

This seagull was so kind and cooperative – at the time I thanked him for holding so still for me. Yes, I talk to birds. And trees, and spiders and any animal that holds still long enough for a conversation. There is a hawk that frequents the eucalyptus tree behind our house, and every sighting is a blessing.

St. Francis of Assisi

Why talk about St. Francis? Growing up as a Protestant, I didn’t get much chance to learn about “saints.” My first real encounter with Francis was the 1972 film, Brother Sun, Sister Moon. It really appealed to my sense of spirituality and personal freedom. At the time, college students were protesting against “the establishment,” and Francis gave me permission to be at least a little bit counter-cultural. Ever since then, my husband and I have trusted God to take care of all our needs; through donations from supporters who believed in our work, and sometimes through conventional contracts. And we have been well supplied all this time – 52 years of marriage and ministry together.

Now I am taking a 12-week course on Franciscan Spirituality and learning about all that has followed from Francis’ simple ideas. So far, I have been affirmed in my views, but I will have to revisit this topic in a forthcoming blog post when the course is over.

I Talk to the Trees

I remember the song from Paint Your Wagon, “I Talk to the Trees” (but they don’t listen to me). When I am in a forest, I commune with the trees, thinking about how long they have been there and all the underground connections that support them. And I think maybe they are listening….

Recently, we were sitting in one of our favorite places in the forest, and there was a squirrel who just sat with us, not looking for our food as squirrels normally do. We just sat there together, enjoying the peace among the trees.

Seagulls and Francis

I discovered that when the cardinals were making their decision on who would be the next Pope, there was a seagull perched atop the copper chimney of the sistene Chapel, where the telling smoke was soon to appear. (You can find it on YouTube.)

From now on, I will let seagulls remind me of Francis, and all he stood for. I see them a lot, since I live near the ocean, and they even visit our nearby lakes. Learning more about Francis is reminding me to keep connecting with the natural world and all creatures. Please share your own experiences of interacting with the natural world in the comments.

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2 responses to “St. Francis and the Seagull”

  1. Kirby Avatar

    Lovely musings, Donna. Thank you.

    1. Donna Turner Avatar

      Thank you, Kirby. I enjoy your musings too!

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