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  • Writer's pictureMonique Sliedrecht

Ah! Bright Wings

It's 7:30 AM. I’m sitting outside, soaking in some rays and listening to the awakening calls of various birds.

The sunshine in the morning has been beautiful these last few days - a note of promise and hope for springtime. I've taken my weather worn fold-up chairs out of storage this week and enjoyed brief moments of sitting outside for the last few mornings. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted spring as much as this year. But maybe I say that every time we reach this point! By being outside in the dawn's light, I’m willing spring to come, determined to take every ounce of light I can get as we anticipate a new season.

I noticed the distant call of the curlew for the first time this year. As it flies closer I can see the long beak and profile of this fascinating bird against a clear sunlit blue sky.

Then I hear some lapwings, and a cluster of oystercatchers cry out from the distant seashore - all against the backdrop of wind and the constant rush of the ocean waves.

I may not be able to stay out here for long, but it’s long enough to be reminded of things to come, and the life all around.

I look up, and a pied wagtail flies so close above me, not realising I am sitting here. I can almost feel the vibration coming from the flutter of his wings as he swoops over my head and up on the wind, over the rooftop of the house behind.

The world suddenly seems to be waking up this week.

Yesterday was the full moon.

And tomorrow (Sunday) we reach the Spring equinox.

This month also marks a new year for many people I know who are celebrating their birthdays - two are dear friends stepping into a new decade. It seems an apt time to celebrate a birthday!

I learned a new word this week: 'apricate'. It means, 'to bask in the sun'.

As we approach the changing of the clocks we will experience extra hours of daylight. That time has already been marked by North Americans. I’m certainly noticing the lengthening of days, which seems to happen swiftly now. And as I apricate, three black and white wagtails are doing the same, chirping on the wire fence nearby. I will listen to their chatter a little longer while I drink my morning brew and until they flit away to their next post.

I hope you can find some moments to apricate this weekend, and celebrate the unfurling of Spring and new life.

I think of Gerard Manley Hopkins poem, and the line: There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

The freshness deep down things….. What an evocative phrase!

And the dawn feels fresh indeed.

God's Grandeur


The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil

Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;

And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;

And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil

Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And though the last lights off the black West went

Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

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