Slowing to the pace of a pond, time away from mowing machines, a breeze too cool for June, a warm suntrap carved into the rhododendron bush, birdsong, rushes rustling and water lilies perfectly still. This is Ashburnham! There is no need for strain, no need to make more or less of this space in time. No need! I am in the Presence of God and His wonderful creation of which I am a part and yet apart, outstanding in dignity without any boast. This is really lovely, a welcome respite from being tired and out of breath. 40 minutes of peace, one with God, with nature and with myself.
I began to ponder the readings for the feast of the Holy Trinity and I conclude again that I am unable to explain or define God. He is to be discovered by those who seek the Truth (John 16:12-15) ; experienced in the prayer of humble adoration; known by love, that Love that has been poured into our hearts by the Spirit who has been given us (Romans 5:1-5). There is the playfulness too of Wisdom that finds its home in the reality of who God is (Proverbs 8:22-31).
That was Tuesday, two days after Pentecost and First Holy Communions, three days after the opening wide of the windows of my house, the windows of my soul, the arrival and departure of the pigeon. There was a text from Mary asking me to phone the parish number. Something must be wrong and I’m so relieved to hear that the pigeon has made a home for herself in a spare room upstairs. I can cope with this! And I laugh out loud at the good of it. The pigeon has made a nest in one of the wall lights of the room. She has laid an egg there. Both Mary and I agree that we can’t very well throw her out, even though she has made quite a mess and will probably do even more. So, Mary spread out old sheets over the place and opened the top of the window wide so that the bird can come and go freely, without fear or panic.
Back home, I resorted to Google. It’s recommended that the nest be left alone if at all possible. Later I’m told that it’s illegal to throw out a nest with eggs in it. By Wednesday there’s a second egg. Google tells me that the process of laying, hatching and the little ones learning to fly will take 40 days and I’m amused by the number 40, it’s so Biblical. We have just come through 40 days of Lent and 40 days of Easter. Now we are to have 40 days of pigeon and I’m excited at the prospect of seeing squabs – baby pigeons – for the first time in my life.
It strikes me that God has sent her to us for a reason and I need to find out what that reason might be. The reason might simply be to remind me about what God is like as we come to the feast of the Most Holy Trinity. There are times in the Bible when God uses the image of a bird watching over her nest to portray God’s own protective care of us – the eagle hovering over its young, a mother hen gathering her chicks under her wings, the longing of God to gather us, the sadness of God when we refuse to be gathered.
I’m thinking of calling her Fran – the pigeon. When she visited me last Saturday on the eve of Pentecost, I realized that I am no St. Francis and then after Mass Ted and his Dad gave me the gift of two St. Francis fridge magnets that they brought from Assisi. That seemed to me to be a calling – that if I am not a Francis, then I should become one. A tall order! But possible, probable if I let God do it to me. It seems significant too that I began the 40 days of Lent by taking a Franciscan hymn as my prayer for the season, that I continued singing it through all of Easter and continue singing now it with John Michael Talbot – “we adore you O Most Holy Lord Jesus Christ in this place and throughout all the world, for by your Cross You have redeemed us, You have redeemed all the world. We worship you Lord; we adore You O Lord and we bless Your Holy Name!”
A Pentecost Pigeon, St. Francis, the Most Holy Trinity and all of Creation! A unity of life!