No matter where I am, almost always, the first bird I see is the Willy Wagtail. It is a constant, a reassurance of the familiar. It is always good company. They are fearless on approach, intent on the insects that are dispersed when one walks. I’ve nearly stepped on one during a bush walk.
Being away from home frequently, I make every effort to create the feeling of ‘home’ everywhere I go. One year it seemed ironic, when I was home, I was not.
I went to the back yard, and with the Willy Wagtail for company, I wandered around as I always do, checking on this and that. This time the bird stayed on the twig, aloof.The gaze, intent.Ever watchful.Within a week the behaviour changed. The bird became territorial.Every time I went to the laundry line or patio. It would watch me from a distance.It would display the tail, the distinctive fantail and chirp excitedly.It found a high spot, a natural arbour made by the branches of the mulberry tree.One day it pulled itself up to look bigger and then swooped me.
Once the bird swooped me, my backyard was no longer mine. I had crossed an invisible line. I was a target, moving or not. If I dared to stand by the sliding door or even window, it would fly up against the glass. The message was clear. Stay away!One morning, unable to go outdoors, I aimed the camera at the mulberry tree. That’s when I saw the nest the Willy Wagtail had been defending. I respected the need for protection and never got to photograph the chick/s. I did find an empty eggshell one day under the mulberry tree and was happy with that.
Homecoming is about rejoicing the return. Yesterday I watched a pair of Willy Wagtails in the backyard, playful and cheeky. Courtship, perhaps. I watched them with growing amusement, and knew sometime in the future, my home will no longer be mine. I’m okay with that.
I reflected on the word home what it means and represents and realised the most comfortable home, is the one I’ve created in self.
I’ve practiced mindfulness for some years now. It used to take a great deal of effort when life separated me from self. Now it is effortless. It takes but a few minutes each day, like it did to compose this post, and when I do, like the birds, the homecoming is a celebration. So why not celebrate every day?
Until next time
a dawn bird