Six days have passed since May began.
The trees and bushes have now formed
a natural enclosure, hiding the Welsh hills,
and sheltering us in our acre of land.
Our thoughts, too, are often sheltered and enclosed
leaving us silent but aware
while the birds sing in the early dawn.
Photograph taken by Sr Clare
As I wrote the above I thought of Robert Brownings poem
HOME THOUGHTS FROM ABROAD.
Oh, to be in England
Now that Aprils there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
while the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England - now !
And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows !
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops - at the bent sprays edge -
Thats the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture !
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little childrens dower
- Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower !
On the same day that I had copied the above poem
I read "Glimpses of Eden" by Jonathan Tulloch
THE TABLET for 6th May 2017.
His short article concluded with the following sentence:
"From somewhere in the hawthorns, a whitethroat
began to sing."
The next day I found a short description in wikipedia :
"The common whitethroat is widespread
typical warbler which breeds throughout Europe
and across much of temperate Asia.
This small passerine is strongly migratory
and winters in tropical Africa, Arabia and Pakistan."
Photograph by Steve Oakes
For some days I have been watching
a small group of birds feeding
on the food I put out in the morning.
They are smaller than blackbirds and obviously gregarious.
They are very glossy, with a sheen of purple and green
when touched by sunlight.
I recognised them today: they are STARLINGS.
Apparently they are declining in numbers
and this is the first time we have ever seen them in our garden.
Are they called starlings because their feathers are black,
and the small areas of colour make them resemble the night sky?
I seem to have been in an ornithological mode.
To conclude I will add the photograph of
an European Starling Flock
from Wykipedia .
We heard last night that there had been cyber attacks
on many computers in NHS hospitals and surgeries
here in GB, and in many other countries throughout the world.
The perpetrators were demanding money ....
but can one believe that if money were paid
that all would be well again ?
Soon afterwards an English man,
who wished to remain anonymous,
discovered a fault in the sending of the text and aninhilated it.
Thanks be to God.
However, a day later, 14th May,
we learned that the perpetrators,
having corrected their mistake,
made another demand for money ...
When will all this cease ?
Yet the birds continue to sing, and the flowers are a delight -
are human beings now the only blight ?!
It is now the 19th May and the sky is overcast.
It is still the season of the ducks and many drakes
who patiently wait for me to scatter bread for them.
Two foxes now arrive at different times
very early in the morning and eat both bread
and soaked cat biscuits,
as well as the cat food not eaten by the house cats.
In this way, nothing is wasted !
Photograph taken by Sr Monica
I wish we could also feed the many hungry people
in the world who are suffering from drought, and abject poverty.
We support several Charities but requests for more money
continue to arrive.....
Poor men have been ringing our door bell
during the last few months.
The nuns on door duty provide them with food and drink,
as well as kindly words:
there is so little that we can do for them....
During this month our garden has grown in beauty,
and birds sing their joyful dawn chorus,
while some human beings have degenerated,
determined to kill and maim young people.
This recently happened in Manchester.
The survivors have been traumatised,
and the parents of the dead and injured are distraught.
Yet the consequences also called forth unexpected heroism
as many people, regardless of their personal safety,
hastened to help the injured.
The police arrived after some two minutes,
ambulances were summoned,
and doctors in several hospitals worked throughout the night
to save lives. Some people died, while others
will remain invalids for a long time.
Such atrocities seem to be increasingly
Lord have mercy on us all.
It is now Monday 29th May.
Heavy rain fell during the night leaving bushes and trees
adorned with sparkling drops,
more wonderful than any jewels.
The birds sang at dawn, and blackbirds foraged for food.
Another day had begun.
A flock of six drakes flew in,
pecking at the bread on the lawn.
But there was no sign of the fox while I was there.
Some days ago our long-haired ginger cat
chased a young fox, which took refuge behind some bushes.
Strangely enough this reminded me of the biblical story
in Genesis of the Man and Woman
hiding from God after they been tempted by the serpent.
They then knew that they were naked and vulnerable.
Branch of a fig tree May 2017
Many of the trees on the edge of our enclosure
are more than a hundred years old,
glistening with raindrops today.
Every bush and flower is shining with water,
as the source of life is touched by light.