Sunday, March 21, 2010

40 Adieu sweet birds

Sunday march 21, 2010:

Come spinning wind
Blown on a soft flurry of wings,
Scirring in an arch of ascent
Your cool breath on sleep-warmed skin,
Welcome.

Come dancing bright one,
Fingers of golden sunlight
Reaching through the latticework of branches
Warm my face with your touch,
Welcome.

Come moist droplets,
The rain damped leaf,
Washed by the night’s drizzle,
Lie coolly against my bare neck.
Welcome.

Come soft quiet earth,
Winter softened wood,
Frost cracked stones
Lie life stirring beneath me.
Welcome.

And the birds spiral
Between earth and sky
Above and below,
Touching, connecting all
Welcome all.

A year is up. For eight festivals now I have walked this earth with the birds. I call them all to me now as I sit amongst the wet leaves of the castor oil plant at dawn on the morning after the Equinox.

“Come ducks and geese”, I say. The wind brings me their call upon the breeze from nearby Finsbury Park.

Come sweet silent swan, I breathe as she swims silently and elegantly into my mind.

Come pigeon, bowing and strutting, cooing sweetly in the warming air. A “Betty” lifts her voice in a seductive “droo-droo-droo, droo-droo”, and I smile to hear her.

I think about the ugly game birds, tottering on inadequate legs, rising with a flurry into the branches with piercing shrieks of alarm and much wing fluttering. Here they are, wobbling ungainly but purposefully, come to join the circle.

Are those swallows I can hear? I remember how they flew high above me in the autumn sky. If I stretch my ears, can I hear them now as then with their “chitter-chitter-chitter cheek” chattering as they migrate?

Many a dark dawn has the owl called to me in this place. And now, as I sit, the crows caw to each other. Come all the birds of Samhain, come harbingers of death and rebirth.

The air is alive with the chirruping of the robins. I listen carefully, sure that amongst them I hear the longer, faster tremolo of a wren. Welcome oak and holly kings, storm and sun gods, twins everywhere.

But the skies are silent of the blackbird. How typical! I smile to myself knowing that he’s off singing at the other end of his territory and will be back. I listen to the sweet songs of the morning, picking out each songbird and promising once more to listen to that RSPB CD again so I will know them all .

In the distance, a church clock strikes seven times. Great arms bare me up out of the castor oil plant. I am transported through the cool morning air and settled down against the rough trunk of a tall tree. I lean against it, safe and happy.

I see the earth brown and green beneath me, the signs of spring showing in the bright splashes of white, yellow and purple against new green. From this position, I can see the trees are truly budding.

Behind the light covering of cloud, I feel rather than see the golden glow of the morning sun. I get to my feet, spread my wings out and throw back my head. A golden mellifluous cascade of notes glitters upon the cool morning air. I sing and sing and sing for the hell of it. I sing for the presence of the day and the joy of being alive. I Singh to the hidden sun and the nearly born leaves. I sing to the dancing nodding crocuses and snowdrops in the gardens below me. And I admire the bright eggs swinging from braches on the trees in the garden, placed there by a human who greeted and stroked each tree as she did so, walking at dawn in her garden.

Cutting through the air like a golden arc , here comes the blackbird’s song. He must be standing on top of a roof in the next road,where I passed him last evening. He is singing the boundaries of his territory. Later, he will sit in the ash tree on the side of the fence and sing there too. I lean back into the cool strong tangle of the castor oil plant and smile. I’ve heard the blackbird; all is right with the world.

The morning chorus continues. I listen, focussing, trying to disentangle one song from another. Under them all, I hear a gentle gurgling trill, soft like the pigeon, tremulous like the wren. What bird is that? I wonder as I hear the fence creak as the cat sneaks silently along it.

Below, the earth creaks, small creatures scurry. A bird beats fast moving wings against bare branches, he scirs, skimming across the garden. A plain hums softly overhead.

My year with the birds has ended. This is the last time I will sit and purposefully be with them. I know though that they will always be with me and when the time is right, will sometimes claim my full attention.

Behind the high cloud, I know the sun is shining. In May, I will begin my journey with fire. Until then, I am at peace, listening to the birds, the gentle, gentle birds.

“Aah,” I sigh, and climb stiffly to my feet, for I have been sitting for a long time. I walk round the temple of the birds that is my garden. I am ready for my day. Spring is here. Thank goddess that the winter is finally over

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