The world is in disarray, fear is rampant and everywhere people are looking for answers, inspiration, and hope. It is somewhat the same here in Gambia, albeit the confinement is a little less, even though most everything is closed and hunger is rampant.
I have been searching too for inspiration to write, as I am wont to do and have been doing for many years about the current human condition, interrelationships and community. Many of my essays over the past few years has dealt with the breadth of imbalance in the world, the focus on money and the diminishment of the spiritual aspects of life.
Then two weeks ago on Saturday morning I was preparing breakfast for the adults and children that gather at my place every day. Suddenly there was a big commotion and very animated children outside. I left the kitchen and went outside to see a ball of fur on the ground and kids all around it with sticks – they thought it was a baby rat. I discovered very quickly that this ball of fur was a baby bird. I realized it must have had fallen from its nest high in a tree. I rescued it from the children and put it in a box, as there was no way to put it back in the nest.
What happened the next day was something I could not even imagine I had never witnessed anything like it. In the morning I put the tiny creature outside in the box on a tiled platform just outside on the patio where I could see it from my veranda. After breakfast and with few people left, a bird appeared on the platform with the baby bird and then a second one, obviously to check out the tiny creature – evidently the mother and father. Such a sharing of love, affection and happiness was unbelievable as they caressed each other with their wings and danced joyfully. I attempted to get pictures with my phone and iPad, but my appearance caused them to disperse. I was so disappointed – the moment was lost. But these parent birds hung around all day in the tree overhead dropping in to feed the baby then quickly leaving.
The next morning, I was prepared with my camera ready, in case the parent birds returned; I was not disappointed. With their arrival, the ritual from the previous day was repeated and the birds stayed longer feeding their baby. Yesterday, Saturday, April18, was two weeks since the little bird appeared. I have managed a small collection pictures of the birds interacting (see below). The little bird is growing stronger but seems to have damaged its wing feathers and unable to fly, so we are caring for it and protecting it until it is able.
The sense of closeness, care and love witnessed, is inspiration for life, and could be a lesson for everyone confined to small places fretting about what they are missing and their lack of busyness. Despite the despair, fear and longing for stability, it has to be remembered that life is still full of wonder, visible care, love and bewilderment all around; even in the depths of this plague infecting and killing people throughout the whole world.
Politicians, religious leaders, and saviours can pontificate, pronounce, and promise, but the real solutions to our traumas are all around us, if we are patient, aware and caring. There is no doubt that in recent decades much of humanity has been callous, uncaring and destructive to each other, the environment, and the human progress that has been made over the centuries.
But it is also evident that there is a greater power in this universe at play than we can ever comprehend, and it is busy at work straightening out the mess humans have made to the world and to ourselves.
The earth is only a miniscule part of an entire universe that we are still trying to fathom. This spiritual power is greater than any religion, government, or corporate power that we now worship. It is life itself, encompassed in the spiritual energy of every living thing in our universe. This spiritual energy, an invisible ribbon of life, is what connects every living thing that exists and is much more important than the artificial constructs that humans create and worship, whether it be money, economies, corporations, governments, and religions.
Since human life began, we have continued in our singular and collective efforts to untie the secrets of this ribbon and keep it for ourselves, through our beliefs, cultures, countries and government philosophies. We miss the whole meaning of life, which is totally woven into one singular delicate fabric that we continually tear and rent with holes in our efforts to contain and control it for our own selfish desires.
The reality is, that no matter our callousness or neglect, the intricate web that is life is non-destructible – no matter our arrogance of thought or contemplation of fear. The most that can be accomplished by such ignorance, as is currently evidenced throughout the world, is to leave gaps in its form, gaps that future generations must repair through greater analysis and soul searching. (William – Building Community – 1996)
As we begin to start looking at ways to get our lives to back to where we were, we might want to imagine what could be, if we only recognize the true inter-connectivity of life itself, and build a genuine society based on the connectivity of life where together we are more.
We might take a lesson from the birds and celebrate the lives we have and realize that we are all in this together and then understand how simple and beautiful life could be for everyone and not just the few.
So instead of feeling despair and creating strife, perhaps we should celebrate our lives, as disparate as they may appear now, and look for the love, care and sharing that surrounds us. Then build a plan for the transition into a new life and perhaps a whole new society – one that is built on the foundations of love, sharing, and caring rather than one of grasping and controlling.
“It is in the quiet that life stirs, motions begin, and resonance is created in the spirit. A different tune appears, much like the music of life, which began in the quiet; the refuge of the growing numbers of marginalized and disadvantaged. This music will move people to rebuild the balance and harmony of our economic, social and spiritual basis of living, which has been the very foundations of hope, humanness and equality since time began.” (Renewing Democracy – William – 1999)
Wonders never cease
There is a saying “wonders never cease” and with my little bird that appears to be true. Yesterday morning, as usual, I put the bird outside on the tiled area outside my house. I went inside to prepare breakfast and shortly after I went to check, and the bird was missing.
I began to look in the back garden as it had been wandering into this area, which was more open and unsafe as large birds often frequent this area to feed on fallen mangoes. The bird was nowhere to be found in the whole garden. My first reaction was that a big bird had taken it, as I had not seen any cats around.
So, I went back to my breakfast chores more than a little disappointed. Shortly afterwards, the children came running because they had seen a small bird flying and thought it was ours. It was hard to tell, as the trees are very tall in my backyard, but it was in the area near where the bird’s nest had been. It seemed plausible, as yesterday she had been flying around the garden for short distances.
A little while later one of the children came and said the bird was on my wall near where she had been every morning, and sure enough, when I went out the bird was there, but then it flew the short distance to the house next door. There were several more sighting during the day of the bird with its parents.
Then in in the evening, a friend who was in my garden with some children saw the bird flying near the back of the house and called me to come as it had landed on some broken coconut branches that I had stacked to be taken away.
I went with my camera to get a picture trying not to disturb the bird, in case it flew away. It was duckish1, so the light was not good for photos and the flash had no effect. I edged myself closer and closer, but the bird did not stir and took a few pictures. I told Nyima, the little girl staying with me, to get the cloth that I had used to catch it every day. I was totally amazed how the bird allowed me to pick it up and put it inside the box.
To me this was unbelievable, as normally to catch it was a task, but this time it seemed as if it wanted to go to the box. It was as if the bird realized it would be safer in the box than outside in the trees where bigger birds or cats could get her. Today the bird is outside, but not flying anywhere and the parent birds have not been evident. So, we will await the next chapter of the little bird’s life.
Written by William (Bill) Pardy
April 23rd, 2020
(Duckish1 – a Newfoundland idiom for the last light of the day)