London Journal – Monday, March 16, 2009

As part of my experience of Lent I am reading the stories of Jesus’ suffering and death in the gospels. Today I read from Matthew about Jesus’ prayer of submission to the Father, in the Garden of Gethsemane, and his warning to the sleeping disciples and me, “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

In addition to office work we went to the London Wetland Centre, located in the southwest part of the city, along the Thames River.

This is 100 acres of lakes, ponds, reed beds and marshes, abundant with waterfowl and other birds. The Centre has a large, glass-walled observation building overlooking the main lake, and has several smaller observation shelters or towers throughout the area. There are also education areas, a discovery center and a cafe.

The site was once occupied by concrete-walled reservoirs that served the city of London with its water supply. The present landscape is entirely man-made.

Here is a view of the courtyard and some of the main buildings.

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And one of the theme areas recreating wetland habitats from around the world.

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And a view from the central observation area, looking out on the main lake. You can see part of London in the distance.

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The whole venture is a remarkable illustration of how mankind can live in harmony with nature in an urban setting.

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In addition to the striking lapwing pictured above (image from Google) I saw a number of birds that were new to me: reed bunting, tufted duck, redshanks (a sandpiper), pochard and Egyptian goose.

A day for giving thanks to the Creator for the world we live in and for humans who care about the environment and treasure the life and beauty all around us.

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