Pica Pica. Latin for magpie. My favourite bird as a child. The trees opposite the garden I grew up in were full of them, their nests and their antics for all that glimmers in their eye. I still adore watching them and listening to their strong caw. Until yesterday that is.
My morning began alongside the gardens sound drifts. The gorgeous song of the blackbirds whom I talk and whistle with. Who often come near to my side. Dance the steps next to me. Feed on the seeds I leave. Watch me just as I watch them. Chitter chatter, chitter chatter. I listened for a wee while, smiled and started the mornings routine. Yoga. I sat upon the mat, bringing softness to the wooden floor, and suddenly, oh so abruptly, the morning bird call turned into high peak screeches. I was straight back up to my feet and rushed to the door. There I was loud, before the scene and thoughts could be processed, with my own bellowing call to break the attack and scare the magpie away. It was striking at a young blackbird. With my shout echoing through its feathers the magpies direction changed. Its wings whipping with sound as it moved up, out and over the ivy coated out building. I returned my eyes to the battle scene and watched ma and pa settle. Ma to a branch of the hawthorn above the spot where the strike occurred and the youngster was left. Pa to the table to the left, watching earnestly. I looked to the long grasses (I'm too busy enjoying buttercups and daisies to cut them) and there was their young little one. Tears filled my eyes as I flurried ideas. What do I do? I stood my ground for the magpies to know I was still there as they sat upon distant trees. They have played their Pica Pica role too well. They are not welcome today.
Ma and pa remained in their places as I slowly moved towards the little one. Just enough so I could see and not touch. It's right wing splayed. So vulnerable and without movement. Had it survived? Another moment I waited. Another moment I listened to my heart. Another moment I took a breath to my belly. I must check if there is anything I can do. Prevent its weakness, another attack. I got closer yet with distance so I could see yet not cause panic. The little one wiggled, it moved. It was still alive. It maneuvered some more and returned its wing to its side. As I knelt still unsure what to do as ma and pa watched, as the little one opened its beak wide, called for food. I sat and waited. Sat and protected it from another breeds feed. A few more minutes passed. Energy returned its way as shock settled and it wiggled deep into longer grasses and nestled. Ma and pa flew in front of me. Telling me to go. So I did. Inside I retreated and kept the door open in case the magpie dared return. The fresh seeds I had put upon the table first thing now fed pa. He collected, I spoke. "Hope all will be fine, that I have done you right." I cried. I watched. I waited. I had breakfast. I dressed and hoped for the little one's best. It was time for me to leave. Wish for the little one to leave free before I return home at the end of this day.
Here is the piece created:
A babe no longer cradled in the wings of another
Father and mother
Feeders and nurturers
Teachers and guiders
Leaders to the world beyond the cradling nest
Where it learnt to open eyes and beak
Grow feathers for it to find the unseen, seek
Seek nourishment from the ground around
Of scenes unbound
Through green wings of travel
As risks are advanced from every creature
Where mother and father no longer trace its moves
Eyes and beak must go beyond speech
For nourishment to be seeked
Serve self protection
Outside the nest, branch and tree
Surpass fear of a journey’s possibilities
Virgin memories laid, unscathed
Reminiscence of the nestled egg
As a babe no longer cradled in the wings of another
I returned home to darkness. Only the light of a torch to lead the way. The little one gone. Please let it be through its own strength and choice.
Today began with their beautiful song. My moment to ground. I have only seen pa so far as the magpies return. Please let all be well.
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Bethan loves the tales of life. From a moment of truth to the journeys we create with our wanders and imagination.