Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
Over the last few days and weeks the number of birds in the garden seems to have declined. No doubt the parents are exhausted after all that egg laying,fledging, and feeding their youngsters. I am sure some of you can relate to them having raised your own family.
Many birds are resident to this country but some will soon set of for warmer climes. The swallows, for example will soon be gathering on the telegraph wires before making their arduous journey to the southern tip of Africa where they will spent the winter months. Spare a thought for the young ones born just a few months ago as they make their 8,000 mile trip. The journey will be beset with danger and difficulty; from the wind and weather, but also from predators like hawks and man. There journey takes them across an area where shooting birds is legal. Yet every year they fly in hope of a safe passage to Africa and a safe return to the UK in spring. Very soon the Brent geese will return to feed on the grasslands of East Anglia to avoid the harsh Arctic winter. You will notice that they fly in a V formation. That way the lead bird bears the brunt of the wind and weather whilst those following in his slipstream have an easier time. Apparently it has been proved that this is the most efficient way of group flying. In due time another bird will take the lead allowing his companion to take a rest, which seems a good example of charity.
Why do these birds take such enormous risks? Maybe it is instinctive, yet they follow their leader faithfully. Our life on this earth is also a journey fraught with dangers and difficulties, joy and sadness, but like the birds we travel in hope; a hope of finding something better, perhaps a better, more enduring life. The birds travel by instinct but we are sustained in our journey by faith. Faith does not minimize the dangers but a firm faith in God, Our Creator, will enable us to overcome all earthly difficulties.
Now, whilst we should not assign human values to our feathered friends, nevertheless they do seem to exemplify the three spiritual virtues of which St Paul spoke in his letter to the Corinthians,(1 Corinthians 13:13) Faith, Hope and Charity.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years