Friday, March 23, 2007
I caught the last half hour of “The March of the Penguins” on TV last night. Had they let Johnny Morrison loose on the narrative, one could have imagined the penguins saying all sorts of interesting things – about the cold weather, the eggs the male penguins had balanced on their feet, the absence of the females who had gone on a sixty mile hike to find water and food and so on. As it was Morgan Freeman did an excellent job!
There was so much that spoke volumes to me on many levels. Watching the march of the female penguins on their hike to reach the shore you couldn’t help but notice how cumbersome and slow the whole thing was. They are not built for walking. Often they fell onto the bellies and slid along for a while, but it was once they were in water that they really looked at home. They were eager to get into the water, and there were no orderly queues. Once in the water they were more like fish than birds. Did you know they can hold their breath for fifteen minutes? They were darting here, there and everywhere snapping up fish and skilfully evading the seals that wanted to eat them. Outside the water they were lumbering and clumsy. In the water they were mermaids. The difference of environments was amazing!
Come Saturday, that’s tomorrow, I get to be in my natural environment for the day! I have signed up for a creative writing day course in Aviemore. Some people may prefer to have all their finger and toe nails ripped out before they would ever put pen to paper and be creative, but not me!
I have always been of a writing bent – the written word just does it for me in a way that any other media doesn’t. Writing, as opposed to reading, is so my natural environment. A number of years ago I was exploring the world of college evening classes. The head bit of me said that I ought to sign up to do a counselling training course. It would have been so useful as at the time I was thinking about trying to get into the guidance role in teaching. It would also have been useful in terms of Christian counselling. I stood there, at the desk, with my money in my hand, ready to sign away the next twelve Thursday evenings. My eyes saw the words “Creative Writing”. Instead of following the head, I followed the heart. I was like that penguin who dived into the water! Home! I have rarely felt so comfortable in any other environment as I do with a pen and piece of paper, or a computer and a word processing package – and a topic of course!
Penguins spend very little of their time in the water. They delight in being in the water, but they are not there all the time. Nature demands that the reproducing and the rearing of the young happens outside, on dry land. It looks very inhospitable – with driving snow, dark days, biting wind and gnawing hunger. But when they are in the water, it is like all of that is cast aside. The chains of responsible parenthood fall off, although they are eating so that they can feed their young when they get back.
Some people live their whole lives never finding their natural environment. We were all created to live in fellowship with God, but if you look at statistics, very few people find that fellowship. Things happen, the devil happens with his lies, that force people to live somewhere that is hostile and inhospitable, where God never intended them to be.