Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Saying Goodbye to a Friend

Recently a friend of Great Meadows (& mine), Rev. Kevin Crispell was suddenly and unexpectedly called home to be with God.  Besides being a follower of Christ, Kevin was an avid birder.  Weekly he published an email newsletter that combined observations about birding, life and faith often inspired by his frequent visits to the refuge.

We met at Great Meadows NWR.  I was there frequently as a photographer, Kevin as a birder.  We both became regular participants of the weekly bird survey.  While the main purpose of the survey is to identify and count the various species of birds present, it is also a time of conversation, stories, sharing life and laughter where friendships grow.

Many don’t know but Kevin was an avid fisherman.  His style was “catch and release”. The bait was the intriguing story.  To the unsuspecting the story would slowly draw you in.  Once the hook had been set, he would reel you in, until it was time for the PUNch line and the realization that once again, you had been had.  Talking with Kevin always kept you attentive.  You had to listen carefully. You never knew when he was sharing something important or whether you were being set up again.

I looked forward to Kevin’s weekly emails.  They were like Kevin, not slick and polished, but plain and down to earth, but with great substance.  He used his appreciation of nature and birds in particular to help the reader slow down and appreciate the world around you.  Kevin also offered observations on life, beauty and how nature connected you to its creator.

Light Chronicle | Photography: Warblers &emdash;

Like the alewife, snatched from a river by the Osprey, Kevin was snatched from us suddenly and unexpectedly.  We all wish that we could spend a few more moments with him, to tell him what he meant to us, to be caught by another one of his stories, or to just enjoy the beauty of God’s creation together.

Light Chronicle | Photography: Osprey &emdash;

Often when Kevin was unable to attend a survey it was because he was performing a funeral.  The last few days I’ve wondered what words of comfort and wisdom Kevin would want to provide in one last newsletter to those who remain.

I am sure that he would remind us that for the Christian death is not the end, but the beginning of something greater.  As the apostle Paul says “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

To those who remain and grieve he would want to share from the Psalms, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

Light Chronicle | Photography: Loons &emdash;