THE EARLY BIRD

The early bird catches the moon. And the worm. And a robin. And five swans a-flying. And other sights and delights.

As I raised the kitchen blind, my attention was caught by a pair of blackbirds – up early from their roost – working the back edge of the garden, scuffling through fallen leaves in search of breakfast in damp ground full of juicy worms. Up and down these early birds went, filling up ready for winter.

It was dark when I went out but daylight was on the rise. The moon, slightly off-spherical, was bright, steady, ever-present – a silent reminder of the power of the universe that is beyond human control. Every few seconds the soon-to-be-paling orb was obscured by thin streaks of cloud. I knew the moon was still there and, sure enough, it re-emerged to cast a disdainful look on those clouds.

A robin surprised and delighted with his cheerful reveille from the middle of a bush. The swans, heard before seen, flew towards the rising sun, necks straining forward, wings beating rhythmically. In the fields, away from the rumble and grumble of early morning traffic, I was alone with God and his creation. ‘The world looks very beautiful and full of joy to me’. The words of a song sung at Infants School came into my head. To five year old me it had seemed true, bashed knees and rice pudding aside. But longevity knows better. The reality of so many human lives is less Pollyanna-ish, more Eeyore-ish, inhabiting as we do an often harsh world where darkness, depression, despair can threaten equilibrium.

When the sun and moon of our lives are obscured by cloud, it is special to catch glimpses – however fleeting – of heaven on earth. Night is followed by day.

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