The other day, as I did my three-times-around circuit of Lily Lake, a ruckus just yards away from the lake made me jerk my head around.
Under the log bridge that is part of the trail, a small stream exits the lake and tumbles down the hill in the direction of Estes Park.
A patch of ice lingered next to a narrow part of the stream. Here, a lucky raven had snagged a small trout and hauled him up and onto the ice.
Seconds later, two other sharp-eyed ravens swooped down to share the take.
Croaks, cackles and screeches ensued.
Apparently no one wanted to share.
Under the deadly onslaught of the three black-plumed sisters, the little trout zipped back and forth across the ice like a hockey puck.
Finally the victor snatched the now mangled fish off to a corner and greedily tore into it.
The losers flapped off and settled to watch in nearby Ponderosa trees, still voicing their outrage.
The most interesting thing about this true-life adventure in the wilderness wasn't what happened on land.
It was the reaction of the other small trout who had witnessed their comrade's tragedy.
They hesitated between the bridge and narrow icy spot where the other trout had met his fate.
One foolhardy fish made a dash for freedom through the hazardous chute. By now, he's probably gliding with the beavers in Fish Creek somewhere near my house.
Unless an otter got him!
The other little trout appeared to weigh their decision and then opt for safer waters under the bridge.
But even that sheltered spot wasn't entirely safe.
A pair of mallards paddled under the bridge.
The trout instantly dispersed, each making panicked darts around rocks, seeking hiding places.
One of the ducks made a half-hearted dive at a trout. But the fish escaped and zipped back into Lily Lake.
We tend to think fish are pretty stupid. But what I saw that morning at Lily Lake convinced me that they're actually wise little creatures.
- They witnessed the ramifications of making a foolish decision: death.
- They backed away and consulted with each other: a wise action.
- They took shelter behind solid structures when another danger arrived: good judgment
- They prudently chose to remain in safer waters: they'll live long enough to reproduce!
By the Lord's grace, He has spared me from facing many unpleasant consequences of my foolish decisions.
The behavior of God's creatures can teach us a lot about right living. After all, The Lord has built into each of his birds, fish, and mammals instincts intended to preserve their species. If only we'll observe and apply nature's principles, we may spare ourselves and our loved ones grief!
Let's put this in human terms:
- When faced with a risky decision—like the stream and the raven—consider what has happened to those who made the same decision.
- Consult with others, especially those considered wise. ("Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed." Proverbs 15:22)
- When danger lurks, recognize it for what it is and avoid it. ("Flee from sexual immorality." 1st Cor. 6:18)
- Think about your life not in terms of what pleases you right now, but in terms of what will ultimately provide you the longest, most productive life. ("Be careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." Eph. 5:15-16)
"My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment;
they will be life for you,
an ornament to grace your neck.
Then you will go on your way in safety,
and your foot will not stumble;
when you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you life down, your sleep will be sweet." (Proverbs 3: 21-24 NIV Bible)