The Bower Bird

The male Great Bower bird of the northern region of Western Australia is an industrious bird.  At the homestead I observed two young males diligently honing their wooing skills under a sprawling tree.  One chose shiny metal and green glass while the other preferred smooth pebbles.  The bower they created was not as refined as it could be.  But then, they were apprentices, still learning.

To be known as a bower bird is to collect things.  I think I fit this category quite easily.  I love antique and collectible shops.  I bought some old camp pans and a griddle recently when travelling through the south west.  They are worn and have been used well for what they were intended.  I could see folks sitting around a campfire, enjoying solitude and companionship.  Having experienced that recently, I wanted the same spirit in my home. where they find new use as pot planters or containers.  People exclaim in delight as they are unusual.  Their intended purpose, to bring people together, is kept alive.

The positive spirit message, it is said of bower birds, is one of love and giving.  Seeing the green glass reminded me of an incident years ago.

A ‘poor’ student I loved wandering around the antique fairs that were held twice a year in an affluent western suburb.  I rarely bought anything but got pleasure from seeing things from yester year, and dreamed big … maybe one day.  From a distance I saw a beautiful green pottery vase.  It was the shape and colour of the vase and streaming gum leaves that caught my eye.  I walked to it without blinking, reached and turned it over.  The label stated it was a piece of Australian pottery from the 1930s with the price tag indicating it was several hundred dollars.  My knees buckled.  There was no way I could afford it, so I loved it with my eyes and hands and placed it back on the table carefully.  The elderly lady who was selling the item came up to me.  “Would you like it, my dear?” she asked kindly.  I just smiled and said it was beautiful but no sadly, I could not afford it.  She offered to sell it to me on a payment plan saying she knew it would be in a home where it was loved and appreciated.  It took me the best part of a year to pay it off.  At the last payment, I took her a bouquet of flowers.  She wept saying she could not remember the last time someone gave her flowers.  The story is one of generosity of spirit between two strangers.  It is a legacy that will find a place in my son’s home one day.  He likes the story.

Like a bower bird, I’ve come to realise, life is rich when there is purpose in what we do and how we do it.  Like the apprentice bower birds I am still honing my skills.  And, therein lies the purpose.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

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