Crocus Heaven, pushing through the soil on my Lenten desert spring walk this morning. Little pockets of golden nestled treasure and Lenten purple cloaked bulbs, like closed fingers in prayer, wanting to relax into an open palm that cups the sun and the morning dew. No thread of repentance in these little precious buds, all renewed and forgiving of the winter frost.
A spray of orange, upon yellow – upon yellow, daffodils and narcissus. Little stars shooting up to Heaven amidst a sea of green rippling ocean. Beautiful little kisses planted by God to cheer a dulling soul. His very breath froths amongst the twiggiest twigs of Hawthorn, her perfume like sweetest gum. Her beautiful champagne blossom with prettiest little flowers and delicate antennae sending off the effervescent scent of hope.
All too quickly I turn the bend in the wintry, wooden twiglet lane, and the farmer’s field with her disciplined ploughed lines, runs to greet me. A greeting I not want. For amongst the living soil is a deterrent to all sinning seed poaching crow. Their feathery brothers or sisters, each with one lead bullet, hanging upturned, wings splayed open, scare-crowing dead, on what were once living wooden branches, now stakes. Morose.
How easily we take this blessed world, and for want of protecting our own sewing’s, would we kill the spirit of our brethren, and display our callousness, by hanging them in public mortification, to scare away potential offenders. Don’t dare return. Their brethren scared take flight, and watch their murdered rotting selves, crucified cruelly upon the wood they once called home, whilst they watch from their lofty perch. Safe till the next time at least.
In my world, when the daftest of all feathers runs wild across a country lane in front of my vehicle, I notice that our feathery friends appear frightened, homeless, on the run. I relieve them of their gentrified name of Royal Pheasant, and I gave them back the grace of their status, Peasant. They seem to like it far better. Today as spring was singing to me of re-birth, I looked down upon the tar and my eyes met with the most beautiful ever-living feather, like the wings of a tiger moth. Striped, black, brown and fawn gentle coloured v’s flying upwards to their tip. So perfect, I thought it was a kestrel’s feather. I stooped to retrieve it, and several feet further on I found its source. A sorry female pheasant, road kill victim. Royal peasant now. At the moment I have no money, and so I took two virgin beautiful feathers, and I sent one to my fairy God Mother in her 92nd birthday card. A little blessing of very real treasure from Heaven.
This week Lawrence Anthony (the author of the elephant whisperer) passed away. The herd of elephants all came to his house to mourn his passing. It has been said for a long time that elephants mourn their dead, what more proof do you need. I found this quote, “Tonight at Thula Thula, the whole herd arrived at the main house, home to Lawrence and I. We had not seen them here for a very long time. Extraordinary proof of animal sensitivity and awareness that only a few humans can perceive.”
We are all more connected than we could possibly know . . . than we dare to acknowledge. If we hurt another, we are really just hurting ourselves.
It is my thing, that when I see an innocent animal dead, I pray for Saint Francis to embrace its soul into Heaven, and reward it with a life out-shining the one it knew below. A peaceful wholesome life, which can be lived as it was truly meant to be lived, without being sacrificed, betrayed, wounded, accused. Happy and Loved in Heaven, as it should have been on Earth.
St Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) lived in Italy, where he founded the Franciscan order of Friars. He is one of the world’s best-loved saints, known for his devotion to nature, especially animals and birds. His canticle of the sun , written in 1225, has been translated into many languages and has been adapted in poetry and song throughout the centuries, as a hymn of praise. This is one of my favourite illustrated children’s book. Which I have secretly hijacked. So simple. So beautiful.
So I leave you with Reeve Lindbergh’s The Circle of Days from Canticle of the Sun by St Francis of Assisi.
Lord we offer thanks and praise/For the circle of our days.
Praise for radiant brother sun,/who makes the hours around us run.
For sister moon, and for the stars,/Brilliant, precious, always ours.
Praise our brothers wind and air,/Serene or cloudy, foul or fair.
For sister water, clear and chaste,/Useful, humble good to taste.
For fire, our brother, strong and bright,/Whose joy illuminates the night.
Praise for our sister, mother earth,/Who cares for each of us from birth.
For all her children, fierce or mild,/For sister, brother, parent, child.
For creatures wild, and creatures tame,/For hunter, hunted, both the same.
For brother sleep, and sister death,/Who tend the borders of our breath.
For desert, orchard, rock, and tree,/For forest, meadow mountain, sea.
For fruit and flower, plant and bush,/For morning robin, evening thrush.
For all your gifts, of every kind,/We offer praise with quiet mind.
Be with us, Lord, and guide our ways/Around the circle of our days.
St Francis of Assisi Pray for us †