When we bought this house, we noticed that there appeared to be a pair of Jackdaws living in the chimney. We had to block off the chimney, so felt rather bad about serving these elegant birds with an eviction order, but serve it we did.
They may have lost their home, but didn’t give up their ‘territory’. Day after day they would reappear and stalk round the garden collecting breakfast, then later for twigs – they were building a new house somewhere locally! I was busy in those days, living a normal life; write something in the morning, then get on with housework and helping Mr G transform this derelict pile into a home for us.
Now life has changed for me – immeasurably. I remain fixed in one place, and only see what is directly in my line of vision, can only reach what is left within arm’s reach. If someone puts a cup just two inches out of my reach it might as well be a mile away – I can do nothing about it. It is not the physical problem of what has happened to me that matters – it is the psychological impact of being so utterly dependant on other people and so restricted in my world directly in front of me.
However, I have learnt that there are bonus points to this new life. I study intently what is happening in front of me – and since that includes a bird conservation meadow – and my pair of ‘prancing judges’ as I call them – the Jackdaws – that has a fascination all of its own.
Not many people get the opportunity to watch a pair of birds from the warmth and comfort of their bed, day after day. They start work every day as dawn breaks – and coincidentally, when I wake. I love the early mornings – the mist rolls over the meadow, the deer stretch their legs and start to graze; the white barn owl flies out of the old tin shed next to the signal box and starts his own search for breakfast; the marsh harrier swoops over all of them, searching for a baby rabbit, or perhaps an unfortunate baby bird – all of them solo.
Yet my prancing Judges work as a pair, their grey wigs bobbing up and down as they scour the lawn. Is it that their own young are so safe they can both leave together? Perhaps they have no young? They seem devoted to each other, so perhaps they mate for life like swans?
This morning I discovered the answer – so flipping obvious I cannot believe it had not occurred to me before.
I used to travel to the northern industrial towns a lot in my search for stained glass when that was one of the things I specialised in selling. For some years I have collected chimney pots. Mr G now has them dotted around the garden, flower pots in the top of every one, bursting with a display of marigolds and begonias and peonies to ensure that wherever I look there is a blaze of colour – but one of the pots is rather special. It has a ‘crown top’ and cascading down the sides are a series of downward facing ‘pipes’. I assume it was made to ensure that some noxious gasses successfully escaped from somewhere.
There may be a cascade of orange begonias filling the top of the pipe – but that intelligent pair of jackdaws have discovered that they can hop into the pipes on the sides and still live in a chimney pot……who says a chimney has to be on top of a roof in order to call it home!
If I hadn’t been in a fixed position, day after day, I doubt that I would ever have realised that this is where they are living. It is forcing me to examine more closely the world around me, and to realise how much of our life we waste rushing from one place to another, forever searching for the greener grass – when actually the greener grass is under our feet all the time.
There really is a silver lining in every cloud.