To my dear Grandchildren,
The Ungainly Ostrich
"The ostrich . . . leaves her eggs in the earth, and warms them
in the dust. . . . She scorns the horse and his rider."
Although it cannot fly, for size and strength, no bird can match the 300-pound, 8-foot-tall ostrich of Africa. And a rider on a horse cannot match its 50-miles-per-hour speed across the desert. The female is called a dun. She lays half a dozen or more ivory coloured eggs (each one 24 times as large as a hen's egg) in a hole scrapped in the sand. She sits on them during the day or, as the above verse says, leaves them exposed to the hot sun. The male takes over incubating them at night.
The ostrich is a very hardy bird; some live for 70 years. Those in the wild usually live in flocks of a 100 or more and peacefully share the open spaces with zebras, giraffes and other animals. If necessary, they defend themselves with their strong legs - a well-directed kick either killing or discouraging any attacker.
Its appearance seems strange indeed. Its long, bare legs with ankles like knees and its manner of walking give an almost mechanical appearance. Short, heavily feathered wings give it a football-shaped body, and its bulky, feathered tail looks like it was just stuck on for balance. Then it has a long, naked neck with a flat, hairy head, having bulgy eyes and a wide beak, making it look like a periscope. In fact, this is one of the Creator's provisions for it, enabling it with its keen vision to see from a lofty height over miles of desert land.
Visitors to ostrich farms are amused to watch one swallow an unpeeled orange. Down its long neck goes the orange, spiraling around, the bulge visible through its skin, until its disappears at the bottom. The birds are also sometimes tamed and ridden by people brave enough to try. But as no saddle is provided, it takes an experienced person to be able to ride very far without sliding off over its tail.
Why do you think the Lord God created such an unusual bird? We might ask the same question about some unusual fish, or the platypus, or an opossum, or strange insects, or other unusual creatures. Do you suppose that, as the Supreme Designer of the universe, it was His purpose to to make every animal, fish, bird, or even every person a little different? The same is true of flowers, vegetables. trees, and other plant life. How thankful we can be that He included such variety in all He has made - another example of His wisdom.
And remember that He did not leave anything needing improvement, for after every part of creation was brought into being, the Bible tells us, "God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good" (Genesis 1:31). No improvements have been necessary.
Love you all