I shall not forget
This, perhaps, should be posted on my Nature Notes Page. Maybe I’ll put it there, too . . . sometime. It’s just something I wanted to record on this, my online journal.
A year ago last October, I took my usual 5 p.m. stroll up past the Top of The Green and on a couple of hundred yards. It’s a relaxation thing when I ponder on the happenings of the day and get into “restful evening” mode.
On this particular walk, two young magpies peered out at me from the bit of blackthorn hedge along my route. Shiny they were, with sharp, bright eyes as they watched me pass by. I nodded and said “Hello” to the little beauties.
They had come, I reckoned, from the nest in an oak-tree in a hedge-bank across the road. I knew I would remember that moment.
They had gone when I walked back.
Next morning, when our dog took me for our morning walk, I looked into those blackthorns. No sign of the young magpies. I glanced across the road.
There, broken on the tarmac, were the two dead birds. Clearly, they had both been hit by the same passing motor-vehicle. Somewhere along the hedgerow, their mother seemed to be calling for them.
I have remembered those birds.
I write this because, a few mornings ago, I found the body of a female blackbird lying on the roadway. I picked her up and put her in the long grass of the verge just to give her . . . well . . . somewhere better to lie in state.
Next morning, I saw a male blackbird hopping around as if looking for his mate.
On Sunday’s stroll, I noticed somebody had trimmed a strip of grass along that verge. I looked for the female blackbird’s body, just in case the cutter had decimated her. It had not. She still lay in the longer grass which I believe our Council has kept uncut as a nature-reserve.
And then I saw two more birds. Fledglings they were. One had been hit by a car and was dead. The other was hiding in the now-short grass. I reached out and tried to touch the living bird, but it made a racket and pecked at my hand.
I walked on, wondering what I should do. Then, somehow, it was shown to me.
Walking back the way I’d come, I looked for the fledgling in the grass. I found it and, as I did so, the male blackbird who had lost his mate flew across to the hedgerow and began chirping loudly. He came along the fence and sat quite close to where I stood.
I picked up his fledgling and put the little thing near to him. And left them to it.
I’ve seen no evidence of what happened next: no smashed little bird beside the road, no chirping from the blackbird. But I believe – indeed, I’m pretty sure – that, somehow, Dad was looking after his offspring.
We humans all have, deep down, the same hopes and the same fears. Perhaps that’s true, too, of our fellow creatures who share this beautiful planet with us.