The bird of pray

ChaffinchMuch of the news lately has been searing… so here’s a sweet and true story about a little bird.

I often walk uphill past a wooded area and on this particular day I noticed that the noise coming from the birds around was much more clamorous than usual.

Just as I was rounding a corner a coloured flash of movement caught my eye down at my feet, underneath a road gully grating. This grating had curved bars which almost overlapped, with a wider spacing at the top of the bars..which narrowed at the bottom – the intention being to keep surface debris out of the drain.

Somehow a little bird had gone down between the bars into the chamber below and couldn’t get out.
As it flapped its wings, flying upwards, the open wings stopped the bird from being able to get through the narrow curved gap between the bars…. and it fell back into the bottom.

I tried to lift the grating but it was  firmly tarmaced in place.

I watched this the bird try and fail a few times and then crossed to the other side of the road so that my presence didn’t increase its agitation… and prayed very hard that the little bird might get free.

No instant miracle followed… but two elderly, blue clad and bereted, Frenchmen appeared ambling towards me down the hill. From their gait and conversation they had probably enjoyed a glass or two of wine with their lunch.

“Excusez moi messieurs …il y a un petit oiseau dans la…”  i said, indicating, with my hand, the trap.
They looked very dubiously at me, and doubtfully peered into the chamber… then both excitedly noticed the bird… and tried to pull up the grating.

They couldn’t do it either…

so all three of us were standing round, staring down into the chamber

when suddenly the bird shot right up through the grating, straight up, about six feet into the air without apparently flapping its wings, just like a dart

and then flew sideways, off into the woods…. which fell silent

we were so happy too


Getting through the bars of a horizontal grid – timing the wing beats so that they were closed just at the right point, would be difficult enough, but  for a bird but to get through the space between these curved overlapping bars was extraordinary.
Maybe a little example of energy following, flowing with, attention……and that what seems impossible may not be.

I saw somewhere the suggestion that we often say prayers three times because the first time we are just beginning to engage, the second we are a bit more focused, and the third time we are fully engaged.

The wholehearted prayer for all beings… for their freedom from suffering… for realisation of their true nature… is surely energy moving in the right direction and

if  we are fully engaged all three times…present all the time…what then might be possible…..?

words by Toyo Eicho ~

For long years a bird in a cage 

Now, flying along with the clouds of heaven

and the words of Paul McCartney’s freedom song  Blackbird  …..