A tuft of grass. All that hid her was a little tuft that the mower had missed.
Truly, I’m amazed no one stumbled over the mama killdeer sitting on her four eggs. For you see, this mama had made her nest right smack dab in the middle of what would turn into the arena for the Lawton Ft. Sill Freedom Festival concert, and with much bravado announced as “the largest fireworks show in the state of O-k-l-a-h-o-m-a!”
Of course, my skeptical mind whispered “I’m sure Tulsa and Oklahoma City say the same thing every year….blah, blah, blah…
We didn’t see her as our family rassled bag chairs, strollers, a cooler, and sugared up grand kids in our trademark gypsy circus fashion. Once we got settled, excitement electrified our tribe. Our army drummer son-in-law was tapping out some warm up beats on stage, which was a first for all of us to witness. How wonderful it was to get to see him enjoy a job for which he was definitely created. If you can bang on it, he can play it and has filled in at the Kansas City Symphony, a renowned church orchestra in California, and a plethora of bands between here and there. No doubt, he never dreamed he’d be playing Toby Keith tunes mixed with classic rock in concert. But when the Army calls…
I walked closer to the stage to snap a picture of our star drummer and almost tripped over the little lady, which in turn I got harshly scolded in shrill-pitched killdeer fashion. Not only was she hunkered in deeply, her effect of camouflage, well, the army could only hope to manufacture that concealment so masterfully. Then, she began the old ‘hurt wing” routine as I assured her I was no threat, merely an oblivious clutz.
As I stumbled to my chair and watched the crowd of several thousand mosey to fill in the area, my concern grew for her. Someone would surely unintentionally plow her over.
Thankfully, a concert worker with a radio strapped to his side noticed her and enlisted a couple of girls, who sat in close proximity behind Mama Killdeer, to alert passerbys. He then sprinted to the stage and informed the MC that while announcing that this was “the largest fireworks show in the state of O-k-l-a-h-o-m-a!” was of utmost importance, would he please encourage everyone to respect this little feathered gal on her eggs? While that announcement did help some, several folks had to come see for themselves to which they received a passionate Mama Killdeer beak-lashing. I was tempted to give them a talking to myself, but she was quite capable of delivering the message, and they let her be.
A bit later, a commotion off to my side caught my attention. Mr. Radio Dude had rustled up 4 folding chairs and laid them on their sides to build a 4 sided fort. Ta-da! Problem solved! Her hero! Still, he diligently continued to circle, making sure no one was messing with her.
Nevertheless, if hoards of people and a rock concert weren’t enough to ruffle a panicked mama’s feathers, the glittering showers and spectacular bursts of resplendent fireworks shot across the darkened sky in such an grand and orchestrated fashion, that awestruck, I caught myself muttering out loud, “This IS no doubt “the largest fireworks show in the state of O-k-l-a-h-o-m-a!”
Did I mention the occasional thundering, chair shaking booms?
One thing about it, when it comes to explosives, those army guys really know their stuff. Silly me.
My eyes scanned over to Mama K. I imagined her wondering what kind of Armageddon had she set up camp in? No one would have blamed her for saying “enough” and skedaddling her tail feathers out of there. It’s not like she couldn’t lay more eggs. Look at chickens. They lay eggs everyday. Surely, not a big deal.
But to her it was life and death, and she wasn’t budging. Not now. No matter what. Not until those babies were safe. She was as vigilant as any line of soldiers at the battle front.
Earlier in the week, a revelation dawned as I did an assignment through the journaling Bible study I recently joined. Having a son who is a police officer, I have spent my fair share studying, praying, and depending on Psalm 91 about God’s protection. Verse 4 popped to mind when I was to share a verse illustrating God’s faithfulness. “He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” As I journaled and embellished this verse, my pencil lightly wisped to create feathers and wings.
A mama hen snuggles her young close to hide them, to protect them from elements, and to keep them climate controlled in order for them to eventually hatch and live out their created purpose. In addition, the shield with its strength and crisp lines stops whatever attacks head on, teaming up with a rampart (fort) which on a larger scale defends from invasions that strike from all directions. God’s faithfulness is what fortifies the security around His haven of refuge. Just like the faithfulness of Radio Dude’s constant actions to build a stockade around the resolute mama.
(Interesting enough, this took place in a military setting. Hmmm.)
And as the finishing notes of the music faded, the final firework plumes vaporized, and the last, sleepy wannabe soldier was hoisted onto strong shoulders to be carried home, the mother of 4 yet-to-be-born killdeer was once again alone on a hillside, invisible in a tuft of grass, safe and sound, vowing to never, ever, ever build a nest smack dab in the middle of “the largest fireworks show in the state of O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A!” again.
May we always remember that faithfully, Jesus always offers to be our covering, refuge, shield, and rampart, and we can gratefully snuggle into Him no matter what.
(All in the military and veterans, thank you for your service! Lawton/Ft. Sill thanks for a wonderful time! Truly spectacular.)
Killdeer Photo Credit-https://naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/killdeer-nesting/
Army Band and drawing- Kelly Long