Dear friends,

Please share your experiences and insights. This is Mary Johnson’s contribution from Australia.

I like the idea that I am in conversation with the world in all kinds of ways. So, as I would with a fellow human, I try to notice ‘what is’ and then observe what arises in me in response. Here’s an example:

Birds and butterflies, this garden is full of both. A young scrub wren came into the house this morning with such a calling from parent to child – ‘I’m here, I’m here!’, ‘I’m here, I’m here!’. Eventually he is out of the house and sitting on the veranda rail in full sun, stunned, mouth open, exposed to predators. I am quite close before he flies into the cool and relative safety of the magnolia. I heard the wrens around there ‘pee pee pee, tut tut tut’. I hope they find the little fellow.

The coming together, the nest, the egg, the wait of brooding, the hatching, the feeding, the right time to leave, to fly, the feeding, the chivvying, the loss…

I put water in a shallow bowl in the shade where they might come. A rock to perch on in the centre. I cannot know the outcome.

It gives me pleasure to revisit this little moment and I’m reminded to make the effort to be present in this way more often. This tiny drama involved and moved me and, because I wrote it down, I am helped to remember how strongly I felt for the parent bird and the conclusion that I would not have the satisfaction of knowing that my efforts were of any use at all. Which is how things are often. Just responding to need and letting go of the outcome. So there was a lesson there for me too. It was a good conversation.

I also made this very simple drawing of the fledgling and cropped it so the bird faces the corner – why I wonder? I can see the picture on my dresser now and value it somehow – perhaps something to do with remembrance… because it reminds me of the vulnerability and distress of this tiny creature and how significant that was for me at the time. And we are all tiny creatures of course…


The little ones
     from twig
       to tree
         to tree
           to twig
             invisibly fast.

Overhead a large one soars.

Beneath black
   and white
     feathered stripes
        dash of yellow

Among wilting flowers
   legumes and fruits
     the little ones
       busily twitter
         skirt and scoot
            about this season
               of seeds

signaling it’s nearing Thanksgiving.

   of eucalyptus
       while blue jay
          hoarsely proclaims—
             It’s always

Strings of Shining Silence: Earth-Love Poems

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