Not many would argue with the fact that it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference between what is artificial and what is genuine.
Learning to “tell the difference” is one thing I appreciate about birding–and after being in Taiwan for a year, the opportunity came at last to make a certain identification amongst a group of heron-like species called egrets.
Egrets in the States can be a little difficult to distinguish sometimes when compared to the rare white herons (like albinos) which do occur. In Taiwan however, there are five species of egrets alone. They too are distinguishable but I hadn’t gotten a good look until this October when Po Hau, a teacher and good friend, took me on a bike ride through the countryside surrounding the school on the evening of the 18th. Returning by train early on the morning of the 30th (and thanks to the binoculars Po Hau let me use!) I finally learned to differentiate the Intermediate, Cattle and Great Egrets.
Also at this time of year they have pumpkins in Taiwan: mottled orange and green, small, round and very sweet. At the English Village Market class we have pumpkins too. Like the other fruits and vegetables there, I was amazed at how realistic they were. They wouldn’t do well in a Thanksgiving Day pie but they’re a sweet teaching aid when we try to convey what it’s like to find the best fruit at the market and barter for it in English!
This reminds me of a conversation I had with Austin (whose birthday was also on October 30). Discussing what it’s like to be on a team of young people, he and I agreed that sincerity was a key factor. As time progresses and it becomes an increasing challenge for all of us to tell the difference between what is genuine and what is not, it will be important to guard against artificiality in our own personal lives. Then when something (or someone) is tested and found genuine, they are appreciated all the more! Austin, you’re a good cook and a great communicator but the sincerity you demonstrate is one thing I appreciate most. It is something the Lord will greatly use at our time in history. Have a great year and thanks again for all you bring to the table. 🙂