"Documented factors contributing to great blue heron mortality include disease, predation (mostly of the young), winter kill, illegal shooting, choking, and possibly high levels of chemical contamination. The young are vulnerable to predation, disease, inclement weather, starvation, and falls from the nest (both accidental and sibling-caused). The effects of egg shell thinning caused by pesticides and other chemicals has been a suspected cause of reproductive failure, though there is no clear evidence of its adverse effects."
Human beings are also vulnerable, especially in our youth.
This morning I read Psalm 140, a prayer for God's protection: "deliver me from evildoers . . . . guard me from the hands of the wicked . . . . give ear, O Lord, to the voice of my supplications . . . those who surround me lift up their heads." Our vulnerability is real. Our losses are real. We do need protection from those who plot against us. Like the Psalmist "I know that the Lord maintains the cause of the needy, and executes justice for the poor." Fair and reasonable treatment of those who have suffered wrong is a beautiful thing. I have been the recipient of just treatment and am grateful for it.
The great blue heron pictured above has survived many near calamities. This bird is an adult now but not foolish. It stands on its own two feet in the marsh. It has had time to develop the skills it requires to live and to care for the needs of its young.
Many, many people, like the heron chicks die young. We read and hear these stories every day. I have had minimal exposure to those who have died prematurely. I am well into my adult life and know many who are 70, 80, and 90 years old. We live with death and life, together.
May we each live gratefully and more importantly, care for those most vulnerable within our sphere of influence.