Natural blessings

Natural blessings

A comprehensive – though incomplete – list of nature’s beauty and diversity.  So much to celebrate … The manifold diversity of beauty in sky and earth and sea; the abundance of light, and its miraculous loveliness, in sun and moon and stars;...
The meeting of winged friends

The meeting of winged friends

This description of a Chinese garden designed for the benefit of birds made me review our own.  We have water baths, winter and summer (they need fresh water when all is frozen over), but I hadn’t thought of sand baths, though I’ve seen them taking dust...
The habits of small birds

The habits of small birds

I’m with Gorky on this one, and spend plentiful moments watching the birds in the garden.  Their cheeriness and resilience even on blastingly cold winter days never ceases to impress me.  Mainly, we have blackbirds, coal- and blue-tits, a feisty robin, and perky...
A golden hummingbird

A golden hummingbird

Wanted to share a few lines from the song ‘Colibri Dorado’.  Below you’ll see some of the lyrics with an English translation provided by a listener. I also liked a comment, surely a nuannaarpoq moment, shared by Elena Rincon (approximate translation...
A matter of infinite concern

A matter of infinite concern

As Seamus Heaney describes it, this is a ‘heavenly father’ who makes wonderful use of the quality of omnipotence, by drawing on his boundless attention, energy and bandwidth to cherish every fallen sparrow, egg or other fragile life form, through all...
The long sense of possibility

The long sense of possibility

Insights into creativity and innovation in the song of the nightingale – I particularly like how he draws on what he already knows, as we can draw on our past, both personal and collective, to forge the new.  And ‘gurgle-beauty’, what a lovely...
Here is a valuable life

Here is a valuable life

Lopez’s description of a tough animal encountered on a summer’s day, arresting him with its direct gaze, reminds me of the sightings of birds we enjoy in our garden. In one spot, we used a pair of terracotta pots, about a foot high and nearly as much...
Lent lilies and swallows’ time

Lent lilies and swallows’ time

A delicious description of the days of mid-April, when the wild narcissus, known as ‘lent lilies’, bloom. We’ve had daffodils and tiny narcissi sunnying the garden for weeks, visited by early-buzzing bees.Williamson’s account includes the...
Across the divide

Across the divide

We play with dogs and cats and some other creatures.  I used to play with a fox in our garden in London: he made a show of taking my abandoned fleece delicately in his mouth and began pulling it off the table where I’d left it, all the while staring at me to see...
Resilience on the wing

Resilience on the wing

Of course, we don’t know what swallows speak of as they prepare for long, gruelling flights to weather havens, but I liked this poetic description of these darting birds on the eve of migration, a hymn to joyous resilience. ‘They talked of white-and-grey...
As obstinate as a robin

As obstinate as a robin

A beautiful way to insist upon freedom and independence of expression.  Robins are so chirpy and robust, hopping about in midwinter, apparently cockahoop about being alive. On the things that matter, and without harming the things that matter to others, let’s...
An unaffordable bird

An unaffordable bird

This thrush pops up twice in Keats’ letters, singing so heartily as to run him up ‘a pretty bill for music’.  Having stood, numerous times, at the open window or beneath the roof edge just so I could hear the loud, ringing, endlessly varied song of...
How to slow down

How to slow down

Great tip for stepping out of the – or your – rat race, and slowing down. Sometimes when I’m anxious, I suddenly discover my attention has wandered to the birds in the garden, or the ambling hedgehog on his evening walkabout, and by the time I...
Swimming with swallows

Swimming with swallows

Near our house there’s an open-air swimming pool I go to on summer evenings, to cool off and do some easy exercise. Quite often I’m the only person, and if I swim as sleekly and efficiently as possible, no chopping and churning, I can be rewarded by...

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