I have become accustomed to the birdlife in my neighbourhood while writing. The corellas move around the tops of gum trees to the grass below, in noisy hordes. The rainbow lorikeet fly in pairs almost squealing in excitement, as they do. The crows are loud with their mournful caw caaw cawwwww. I know the bigger water birds are overhead, headed to or from the lake, by the flapping of their wings. The wattlebirds have a staccato call. The kookaburra’s laughter often stays rumbling in his throat and is let out more often in summer. The magpie larks sound as highly strung as they look. The Australian magpie’s call comes from deep within and eventually finds its way through the curve of its body. The honeyeaters have a sweet, tiny call. The Willy Wagtail’s call sounds like a pocketful of change being jingled. But yesterday, mid-morning, while working at my desk I was distracted by a bird call I had not heard before. This bird call sounded distressed.
I looked out the window to find a chick, a honeyeater. Seated at the top of the wall, it chirped and looked around anxiously. The mother was busy feeding on the aphids off the roses nearby below, just out of sight. Too intent on her feeding, she ignored the call. Surprisingly, the Willy Wagtail who dominates the ground below, flew up to the top of the wall. It did not flash its tail as it does frequently. It just sat near the tiny bird, scanning. The chick stopped calling and settled into silence. They sat together for several minutes until the mother noticed the duo and joined them. The Willy Wagtail then flew below to flash his tail. There was nothing aggressive or opportunistic about the usually territorial Wagtail. His presence was a calming influence on the tiny bird.
I believe what I witnessed yesterday was a genuine attempt to soothe a chick in distress. Effectively, too. The Willy Wagtail usually moves continually. But in the moment, he sat calmly. “I am with you”, his presence seemed to say.
It made me reflect on my circumstances at the moment. Waiting for guaranteed work is stressful. It leaves me vulnerable. The only certainty in my life is my faith. My personal understanding of faith, is accepting God’s presence in my life. It is working with the full knowledge my path has been earmarked for me. All I need to do is make good choices. When I find it difficult to cope with uncertainty in day to day matters, my eyes fall on the small magnet on the fridge that says, “I am with you” Matt 28:20. And, like that tiny vulnerable bird on the wall, I am calm again.
May you find a calming presence in your life today.
a dawn bird
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