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Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Consider the birds

Jesus was a mendicant teacher, wandering around Palestine, grabbing teaching opportunities from the worlds of nature and commerce around him. I like that — there is a spontaneity about it that suits my personality type: picture, if you recall, the Jesus-figure in Godspell, the clown, dancing through the labyrinths of learning, sharing love, justice, compassion. (There is a bishop, not of this diocese, who was adamant that Jesus was an ESTJ with a carefully constructed strategic plan … I fail to see that, though it’s probably an argument from silence — or from psyche — it would be like having a timetables clerk for a saviour).

Consider the birds. Seven months ago, after a visitation of black cockatoos, who stripped our trees, I began scattering seed for them. The lorikeets and rosellas came briefly, but didn’t like the tucker. They never came back. Then, slowly, tentatively, the doves arrived. Three or four at first, then a dozen, two dozen, until there was no fewer than forty, a seething mass of brown featheriness (and not always nice to each other).

A galah or two arrived.  I was warned that would be the end, that they are the bullies of the back yard. Their mates soon joined them: a dozen, two dozen, until there was no fewer than forty (sound familiar?). The doves down-populated, waited, picked up the leftovers.

A corella dropped in. What mobile phone network are they on? Soon it was a dozen, two dozen, until there was no fewer than forty. A seething mass of white, with a few hardy galahs hanging in there. The doves waited their turn, picked up the leftovers.
I changed my timetable, sick of the corellas swearing at me by 7.30 every morning. They swore more, but finally gave up. Only a few drop by now, on the afternoon shift, after the doves have had their fill.

For the doves were the great survivors. As the cantankerous corellas gave up they moved back in (with the occasional galah). It’s their pad now: they’ve seen the belligerent aggressors off. Late morning, most mornings they arrive, a seething mass of brown featheriness. Still not particularly nice to each other, though.

I like to think there is a parable here somewhere. Jesus would find one. I’ll leave it up to you. The cockatoos never came back, either.

έ̉ν Χριστω̣̃ – (Fr)  Michael
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