A Thieving Bird and Generous Ways of Finding Delight

This is the text of my Thought for the Day, broadcast on Tuesday, 3 September 2019 on BBC Radio Ulster’s Good Morning Ulster

Good morning

I’m sitting on a chair next to the window that looks out onto our back garden.

A clever thrush has discovered the ripening currants on the bush, all bright and tempting with come and get me redness. Just beside the currant bushes are two raised beds which I built a few years ago. In one I have some vegetables growing.

In the other, carefully covered by netting, is a whole bed of delicate strawberries, nearly ready to eat, but not just yet. While I watch a tiny bird, a wren possibly, hops suspiciously round the tail end of the netting then suddenly disappears inside the strawberry bed. I realise the bird knew exactly what it was doing, knew where the gap was because this was not the first time, and I knew I had been outwitted by this tiny bird.

The currants we had already decided to let go, to be free with. The garden birds could have what grows there and we could watch them and enjoy them. But right now, that tiny bird is in under my protective net feasting on my precious nearly ripe strawberries.

I resisted the immediate urge, which in retrospect was an utterly ludicrous thought, to run out into the garden and to chase this daring bird away. Can you imagine what that would look like?

Instead I stayed sitting where I was. I realised in that moment that these strawberries have come to me with minimal effort on my part, they were a blessing of the soil and the sky.

And what this bird presented to me was the possibility of another way of enjoying these strawberries. Another way of being generous with them.

This other way was to laugh out loud at the derring-do and ingenuity of the wren. It’s diligence in finding a way through my defences. It’s courage in defying me and risking itself to the deep undergrowth of strawberry plants.

So that’s what I did. I laughed out loud.

I wondered then, Is my laughter sufficient for me as a gift at the end of a summer tending these plants? Would consuming them myself bring any more joy that what I had just seen?

So I let him eat his fill. And when he had left, I repaired the net.

Audio of this tftd can be found HERE

Leave a Reply