Dive into any novel, and before long you’re visualizing the characters, imagining the landscape. For this photo essay published in the summer edition of God and Nature Magazine, I dug through my pics for scenes that capture the essence of my new novel Sugar Birds. Not exactly, of course. The pond in the story is deep in the woods. In the book, the eagle’s a juvenile, so she’s mottled, not white-headed.
But you get the idea.
Here’s that piece as it appeared in God and Nature just before the book released last week:
[Themes and Scenes from] Sugar Birds
By Cheryl Grey Bostrom
Trials. This past year has certainly seen its share of them, with severity that has caused many to search for meaning in their pain—and to wonder about the goodness of God. In my forthcoming novel Sugar Birds, ten-year-old Aggie also asks those questions. When an accidental fire drives her into rugged Pacific Northwest forest, suffering compels her to question her father’s teaching about the character of God. She looks to creation—especially birds—for answers, in Washington scenes like these:
Captions include quotes from the book.
Pond, NW Whatcom County.
“She sank to her ankles in soothing mud. . . In its center, clear water . . . spilled into a larger, duckweed-covered pond a baseball toss away.”
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.”
Ospreys, aka Fish Eagles, river fishing.
“Ahead of her, its talons leading, a black and white blur splashed and sank into the river . . . Then the skinny raptor erupted from the water, a trout glinting silver in its claws.”
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Rural Whatcom County, pre-dawn.
“Enormous trees lined the fields and hills between me and those mountains and beckoned me like mothers who care . . .”
“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning . . .”
Bald Eagle, unperturbed.
“A pair of crows mobbed her, diving at her head and back until she launched again and flapped a slow, powerful rhythm across the river and greening valley.”
”Does the eagle soar at your command and build its nest on high? It dwells on a cliff and stays there at night; a rocky crag is its stronghold.”
Whatcom County Sunrise.
“Downstream from where the osprey landed, dense trees, their needles and leaves knit together above thick undergrowth, lined the bank.”
“The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness . . . “
Even in the midst of suffering, through his creation and his Word, God speaks love to us.
Award-winning author Cheryl Grey Bostrom is a Pacific Northwest native, naturalist, and avid photographer. A former teacher and columnist, she lives with her husband and two irrepressible Gordon setters in rural Washington State. Her novel SUGAR BIRDS releases August 3, 2021.
God & Nature magazine is a publication of the American Scientific Affiliation, an international network of Christians in science: http://www.asa3.org
And now, a few pics taken around our place and posted on SM earlier this week:
“So keep watch at all times, and pray that you may have the strength to escape all that is about to happen and to stand before the Son of Man.”
This is the wood that warms the house
that came from the rounds
that came from the trees
that came from the land
that came from the world that God built.
“He plants a fir, and the rain makes it grow. Then it becomes something for a man to burn, so he takes one of them and warms himself.”
“Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it? Is the saw to exalt itself over the one who wields it?”
First light, first flight.
“If I rise on the wings of the dawn . . . even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”
—Psalm 139: 9-10
Thanks for reading, friends. So glad you’re here.
Watching Nature, Seeing Life: Through His Creation, God Speaks