Interfering old druid…
I walked the boundaries between worlds this morning. To the folk I passed I was just another middle aged woman fighting off the bulge before the heat of the day took hold. To the birds, I walked as a druid. It intrigues me how the Crested Pigeons have so much to say about corvids. All crows to them – they make no distinction except perhaps by colour. “The black crow, the black crow,” calls one, and then switches to the other option: “The pied crow won, the pied crow won.” You’d think they could find other things to talk about.
There was a magpie squabble under way in the park. Four birds, two parents and two young, were ganging up on a single parent and her youngster. I knew why that Magpie was a single parent. A week ago I had seen both parties feeding and talking together under the same trees. One bird, however, seemed unable to fly. I walked close to him to check if I was right and he crossed the road. Therein lay the problem. At some point I suspect he’d been bumped by a car, leaving him with a damaged wing and a limp. Two days later he was dead on the side of the road and I blessed his journey into the Summer Lands.
I watched the squabble for a while so that I was clear on who was chasing who. The adults were picking on the single parent, trying to drive her from the area. As she flew from one place to another, her child flew with her. She was tired, open beaked, and flew as if a wing was hurting. I stepped into the area between the trees and between into their realm to talk to them. Those doing the pursuing came to rest, each in a different tree around me.
I told them to stop this unkindness. The persecuted one and her child had settled on the ground in the shade of a tree trunk.
“Your ways are not our ways,” they replied.
“I know, ” I answered. “But we can learn from each other’s ways.”
I sat down on the grass, and as I did so the persecuted one and her child flew up to a different tree a little away from the rest. I waited and listened while the birds negotiated among themselves in their beautiful whistles. First one spoke, then another. They confirmed their family ties and then the persecuted one added her voice stating her case – same area, different family, also need food, tough as a single parent. I joined in the discussion and pointed out that it is hard for a bird to establish a new territory on her own with a youngster, and that they were only taking the opportunity to chase her because she had no mate. She’d been there all along anyway. The space is small because of us humans and our way of living, but they do have the park which is more than most. They listened. The fight was over.
It is, I guess, the nature of druids to interfere. Perhaps it is part of our calling.
I continued my walk. Further along I saw another Magpie youngster I had watched before. On the previous occasion I had watched that one’s parent fend of a bunch of marauding Indian Mynahs. On that occasion the young Magpie had walked close by me making little sounds almost like a “meow” – baby talk. This time the same bird was perched on a post, practising semi-under-under-the-breath adult whistles and runs of song, so like a teenager with voice breaking!