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,
What a wonderful write ups! You possess such a talent to write in varied spheres- amazing!
Thank you so much dear Indira! Sending love xx
Dear Leah, such a wonderful post. Memories of lost sights, sounds, and smells dance quietly in our memories waiting to be awoken and bring such joy and a flood of memories. I feel the same way as your dad about our barn swallows here on the West Coast of Canada. I remember sitting in the warm summer sun in fields watching them swoop and dive gracefully, nimbly avoiding mid air collisions, tiny and lithe. Such beautiful little birds with their sleek forked tails and soft russet bellies. I hardly see them now…. pesticide use has killed off many of the insects they survived on, housing subdivisions have covered their swaying fields with cement and buildings. I rejoice each time I see one of those brave tidy little birds racing above a field. (And secretly plan an artful and tiny swallow tattoo!…)
Thank you as always for your brave and open heart, and your fearlessness in being your true self in the face of a frantic and artificial world. And a hug for your dad 🙂
Oh, Heather, reading your description of your memories of the swallows is so beautiful. My dad says that swallow numbers are also much lower here than they once were. Like you, I delight so much in seeing these birds swooping and diving through the skies. They always look so playful! It is so sad to think that we are destroying so much beauty.
Thank you so much for leaving this comment which has touched me deeply. And I love the sound of your tattoo! Sending much love xx
Christine Noble Seller
Ohhh a new (to me bird). Sad heart hearing of it’s current status. There’s power in education, prayer, love and action. Thanks for including a link to an illustration of the Lapwing (strikingly beautiful) and it’s song, Leah. My love of the natural world was fostered by my paternal grandparents who took us camping in provincial parks on the east coast of Canada along with summers spent at our family lakeside cottage. Sending love to you, Mother Nature and the Animal Kingdom.
Yes, agreed on the power of education, prayer, love and action. So beautiful to have had grandparents who took you into nature and who encouraged a love of the natural world. A real gift.