I close my eyes and see my father’s face turn toward me, a trickle of salty tears falling behind spectacles down ageing cheeks.
Walking on the moors, I’d met a new bird. Later, I tried to describe it to Dad. “It looked something like this and sounded something like that”, I said, but he could not decipher from my descriptions what it was I’d seen.
Later, when visiting, I played Dad a video I’d taken of the bird on the moors. Immediately he cried, “I know what that is! I don’t even need to see it. I would know that call anywhere. It’s a Lapwing. Oh, they are my favourite birds!”
And that is when he turned toward me and used his body and his hands to show me the way he used to see them swooping and diving and dancing above the fields when he was a little boy.
The trickle of salty tears seemed to flow from both the joy of the memory and the sadness of the Lapwing’s demise. The beauty and tragedy of the world meeting once more.
More intensive farming practices and the pressure to produce more for less has destroyed the habitat of the Lapwing. Now, the bird with the call that sounds something like an arcade machine finds itself on the red list; a species needing urgent action.
Oh humans, pray we see what we have done and what we are doing to our precious Earth home. Pray give us the strength, courage and energy to make the necessary and uncomfortable changes to safeguard the future of this beautiful planet.
Oh Lapwings, pray return to our lands and swoop and dive and dance again as you once did above our fields, for I cannot bear to see my father cry this way. He, too, is in love with the world. He, too, feels the pain of every loss.
Love and courage,