THE BIRDBATH… Observing the call

Night has wept under the gaze of the tall plane tree and the roof of Adrian’s garage, a natural pool is half-filled by this nocturnal shower. With eyes still closed I hear the splashing and frenetic flapping of wings. In an instant I am up and at the window, looking through the day’s frame, watching a picture unfold before me. Five little birds dip and dive into molten silver. Rapid-fire-flapping wing action shakes the dust and sleep from their feathers. Heads and beaks dive into and out of bodies cleaning, cleansing, preening and preparing for the new day. Busy little bodies perform ablutions with sacred solemnity in their private little Ganges under the watchful gaze of sun. Smiles scattered like confetti dot their faces. I am happy.

One by one they alight the old tree nearby. With wings splayed they dry their down feathered soft underbellies and perch on branches gilded by a gentle brush of light. Feathers slicked licorice-black glimmer and shine like patent leather shoes. They whistle and sing. Shrill phrases punctuate the air and improvised conversations float effortlessly like leaves off the bare winter branches denuded by autumns passing. Their animated conversation delights me. I imagine their excited twitters are about the plans for the day.

A few more birds drawn by their contagious chirps join in the fun. Like carefree college students, set free after a long lecture, they dip and dive into the cold dam with abandon, whooping and cheering. Some fly out as quickly as they’d arrived. Others with tail feathers fluffed strut their stuff, like peacocks on parade. Their small dark beady eyes shine, revitalized. With a quick dip of beak a little thirst is quenched. Once they’ve made a submersion, each one turns in and observes the call of the morning ritual. High above, on a black telephone wire strung directly across the pool a few birds keep watch, whilst others attend to the art of self-care. A quiet settles over us all as the sun speaks of warmth to us.

Then a cry comes ringing from out of the blue, which only finely tuned ears can hear, and as one they rise with wings spread and take to the sky. All that remains is the liquid sun rocking in the water and the spiral ripples of waves washing to the edges of the pool’s shore. There is a tangible happiness, a joy in nature today. Perhaps it is because the sky is vast and wide and open. Perhaps it is because the sun has chosen to come again. Perhaps it is that the bounty of falling rain always brings a manifold blessing. These little ones, who live in the thick and thin of nature, seem to know full well how to embrace the gift of an ordinary day whilst we who are deemed to be so much more than they seem so blissfully unaware.

To guard myself from taking these daily liberties for granted, I ask for a mindfulness to visit and be present in every moment. I ask for a gratitude consciousness in all my giving and receiving. I ask for eyes sparked with joy and a mouth lined with laughter as I find the gifts hidden in the ordinary. I ask for a resilient courage to dive deeply into unknown waters. I ask for passion, fortitude and action to move me to see things through. I ask for an open heart and clarity of mind in the face of uncertainty. I ask for ears tuned-in to the heart’s sacred call of self-care. And lastly, for a quiet confidence to settle on me and grow a solid trust that knows… the loving gaze of sun will always hold me and a strong wind will always carry me through the vastness of sky, at the right time, to exactly where I need to be.

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