Sunday, December 1, 2013

Anhinga Glory

Glory is one of those words we so easily throw around:

“The glory of winning….” and securing bragging rights;
“The glory of success…” and all the benefits that go with it;
“The glory of God; to God is the glory…” and the concept of worshipful praise, honor and thanksgiving;
“Glory, Glory, Hallelujah” and the singing of a battle hymn;
“Glory Be!” and interjecting all types of opinions.
Very few of us will ever know the glory that comes to an Olympic athlete, winning the Gold; or the glory of an acclaimed actress, winning the Oscar. Most of us will never know the glory that comes to a famous inventor; or a discoverer, who changes our world. For me, that is OK.  I kind of like cheering the meaningful successes of others.
I’m quite familiar with the “Glory Be!” phrasing of my southern grandmothers, aunts and ladies from church that all pronounced “Glory” with about five syllables:  “Well, GLLLOOAAOORRRY BEEEE!”  Sometimes it was exclaiming surprise; sometimes delight; sometimes reproach; and on occasion, a bit of pretended shock.  But it never carried a judgmental stick, at least not from these lovely ladies that hold my memories.
For me personally, the controversial use of glory comes with the singing of the well known genre of music we call battle hymns, as in The Battle Hymn of the Republic. I don’t mean anything disrespectful; I just think a battle hymn is a confusing concept. 
I can understand a battle march; or a battle cry; or a battle dirge.  But if a hymn is a song of praise, I find singing in praise of battles to be a contradiction of terms; an oxymoron.  The concept of a battle hymn doesn’t fit my view of being strongly patriotic.  I’m just saying; I’m not preaching.
But oh how I love the concept of God’s glory.  I guess it’s pretty obvious that Mother Nature is what comes to my mind.  Mother Nature never fails to overwhelm me with the glorious nature of creation, and its ever changing dynamics.
And when I walk down a Gulf Coast trail, in full-ball sun after a wealth of cold rain, I’m overwhelmed by the stillness of an Anhinga, drying and warming in the beauty of the day:


I stand very still and watch this Anhinga for a good long time.  It turns its head, ever so slightly, and watches me.  I slowly back away, not wanting to disturb this glorious pose.
This Anhinga reminded me of John Travolta in the movie “Michael”.  This Anhinga caused me to ponder the glory that does not fit human mold; the glory of Mother Nature that can be both beautiful and raging; beyond human understanding, regardless the algorithm.
But mostly this Anhinga reminded me of the glory in great beauty; in splendor; in the ordinary exhibiting the extraordinary.
Glory be!  Hallelujah!  Birdy days are simply glorious! 


  1. I think "oxymoron" not "dichotomy".

  2. Thanks, Tom. Glory Be!--you would make a great editor!

  3. Anhingas are not so common that we get to see that glorious sight often

  4. and then there's that saying "God, Guns, and Glory"... How in the world did Guns get in there???? ;-/ Susan


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