They were flying in a huge flock above the river at dusk. They were going home, after a day’s adventures. Geese! It was 2009, and we had just moved back to my home county of Lincolnshire, from Derbyshire. For some reason, the sight of them made me cry. They were going home to safety. In 2001 my father had died, and immediately after his death we moved to Derbyshire, to make a new life. Admittedly it was not so far away, as in the other side of the world, or even the other side of the country. But it was far enough away and different enough to provide us with a complete change – something that we badly needed. When we moved, I was in deep grief, and the words of the song “Going Home” would not leave me. My father had “gone home.” I had no idea where to, since he was a self professed atheist, but inside myself, I liked to think that he had gone home to some better place.
They say that losing someone to death brings you face to face with your own mortality. It certainly did that for me, and I knew, without a doubt, that when I died, I wanted to find that place called home that I had never had. A place that was safe and secure. A place where I could rest and relax. A place of shelter from the world.
As I watched the flock of geese that night, the emotions that the sight of them brought up were so strong. I thought of their sheer vulnerability, and for some reason my heart broke. Yes, for thus night, hopefully they would be safe, but what of the days and nights to come?
I do not know why, but it was this encounter that brought to birth my interest in and deep love of the birds. Until then I had just seen birds as birds. But now, i began to sense something of their lives and struggles. I became aware of the drama that could make up their lives. I thought of the joys and the sadnesses that accompanied their lives. And I was hooked!
From then on, I started to watch birds and study them every day of my life. I had discovered a whole new world. They put me in touch with something very deep inside me, that I could not ignore. Nor did I want to.
The ospreys have just returned to the U.K. from warmer climes, to begin their breeding season. I have a deep love of the ospreys. Their fortunes can at times become heartbreaking, but also joyous. Watching them can be like watching a bird soap opera. But I am planning on writing a bit more about them as the season continues.
So far, from what I know, two ospreys have returned to Manton Bay at Rutland Water, and two have returned to the Loch of Lowes in Scotland. There may be more, but I do not know of them.
There is always great joy when a pair of ospreys returns. And I am feeling joy at the moment, and am joining in with the sky dancing that is going on. Oh to be a bird! Free to fly! But watch this space for the Bird Soap Opera! 😀