If you watch the news on TV or read newspapers, magazines, or the internet, there seem to be plenty of news-worthy (apparently) individuals ending their marriages.  And, the media constantly reports that 50% of marriages in the United States will end in divorce — although that statistic is somewhat unreliable because all States do not report on divorces.  Also, some of the numbers may be incorrectly interpreted.

Despite the statistics, I know from time to time I’ll hear an account that supports the notion that enduring love still exists — marriages lasting longer than 50 years do occasionally make it into the headlines.  And, after surviving that long a marriage is unlikely to end in divorce.

What emotion is needed to power the Love Meter

Are humans the only creature on this planet which can bond for life — apparently NOT!  Scientists tell us that there are other members of the animal kingdom which form life-long pairings — sea horses for one.  Does that qualify as enduring love?

As a youngster, I remember being told that Canada Geese mate for life.  Storks also mate for life — I wonder if that may have influenced why some adults told children that babies were delivered by storks?  Now, I’ve learned of a news story which speaks to the persistence, and perhaps enduring love, of a pair of storks.

A female stork had been shot by some hunters in Croatia.  When she was found she was taken to a veterinarian.  The vet knew that her wing had been damaged to badly for her to ever fly again.   Although no one could be sure that she would live, an attempt was made to heal her.  And, they named her Malena.

Since her injury in 1993, Stjepan Vokic has taken care of Malena — she lives in a nest on the roof of his house.  He is so committed to her survival that he discontinued his cellphone service so he could afford to feed Malena, especially during the winters.

Approximately 8 years ago

One day Stjepan noticed another stork with Malena — seems that a male had found her and fell in love.   Stjepan gave the name Rodan to the male stork.  The pair raised a clutch of chicks that year — Rodan taught the chicks to fly because his partner cannot.

Since storks spend their winter in South Africa, each August Rodan and the young will start to prepare for their long journey of about 8000 miles.  According to observers, Malena is sad for weeks after Rodan flies away.

Malena remains in Brodski Varos until the return of her mate in the spring — which amazingly occurs on the same date and at about the same time of day each year.  Except that this year he arrived a day early!

Weeks before his return each March, Malena is impatiently waiting for Rodan on the roof and preparing the nest.  These two beautiful birds have raised 32 little storks during the last 8 years.

Amidst so many stories of pain, despair and misery I find this to be a wonderful story of perseverance, persistence and tenacity .  I hope you have enjoyed reading it.    😎

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