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Feather's Miscellany: House Martins

"Itís surprising how little things can lift you when youíre feeling down,'' says John Waddington-Feather.

John wrote this wonderfully uplifting article earlier this year.

Itís surprising how little things can lift you when youíre feeling down. I was in my study the other day, feeling rather sorry for myself (old age yíknow) when I glanced out of the window. On the telephone wires across the way were a pair of house-martins, the first Iíve see this Spring Ė and on St Georgeís day, too.

There they were preening their feathers nonchalantly after their long flight from Africa, luxuriating in the warm spring sunshine. And I luxuriated in them; they really uplifted me and transformed my day. And it set me thinking: we should look for the good things in life more often; seek out the simple things of beauty and wonder, for it fills me with wonder each year how those tiny birds make the long and arduous trip to and from Africa, returning each Spring, guided by some miracle of radar quite beyond my ken, to nest under my eaves, gracing my garden with their flight through the summer and at the same time ridding my garden of mosquitoes and other pests.

On the other hand, nature can play havoc with our lives. The Iceland volcano eruption brought chaos and grounded all air-flights across northern Europe Ė but it didnít ground my house-martins and stop them coming back. It was, however, a timely reminder of just how fragile we are, simply a part of creation like the birds and just as dependent as them on the environment about s for our survival. There are still vast forces at work in the world beyond our control and despite the huge advances in science (and thank God for them) we are still creatures made by a Mind much greater than ourselves. More, we are still dependent on the Mind, that creator, for our well being and direction of our lives, just like the house-martins nesting under my eaves.

Perhaps it was the subconscious realisation of that which lifted me, gave me reassurance, gave me joy on a beautifully sunny morning when I gazed out of my study window and saw the house-martins. Looking at them I certainly felt at one with God and his creation; and what is just as important, I know I can communicate with that God through my faith.


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