Friday, 13 June 2014
The blackberries are blooming. Rose's hard knock cousins, they twine their thorny canes around fences and even low hanging branches, making use of what's at hand and then bursting forth into masses of blossoms that brighten every piece of waste ground, every roadside, every patch of broken pavement, in the valley.
Beloved of bees, even from a distance you can hear the brambles hum with the music of their industry.
White moths and bright monarchs gather there too, drawn by the promise of sweet nectar.
Busy in their pursuits they all dance around one another in the air; grace born of knowing there is enough for all to share.
Ants are drawn by the nectar too, and parade in military style up the thorny canes. Chickadees flit among the brambles feasting on the ants, wings aflutter, chittering to one another as they go.
Families of quail travel the gravel shoulders of the road picking up bugs and grass seed as they go. Oddly, they make me think of nuns: Their upright carriage and portly figures belie their swift movement and, like nuns in habit moving down a corridor, their motion is so smooth they might be carried on wheels.
Mama and Papa Quail dress in distinguished blue and grey, their children in downy brown and black, each and every one of them graced with a nodding head dress that makes me smile just to look at it.
They are wary creatures, and rightly so, prey to so many larger birds and animals here. At the first sight of movement towards them, they disappear into the armoured fortress of the blackberry canes.
Later, when the berries come, they'll become less shy, scurrying around my feet to clean up any fruit I might drop while foraging.
Keeping company with the quail in the shelter of the thorny canes are small brown rabbits. They make their warrens there, and peak from the brambles before scurrying out to dine upon the tender green growth in meadow and field.
As I sit and watch this busy small community, a garter snake emerges from the fort, and moves into the sunlight to warm himself a while.
Finally I leave, disturbing the peace and causing the small creatures once again to seek the shelter of the canes as I go. I know that soon after I'm gone they will return to their routines again.
I am grateful for this bramble born community, and the abundance these plants provide. But one of thousands of like communities in field and forest, on shores and mountainsides, it is a timeless reminder that we are not alone, nor unique, nor any more important than the smallest bird or bee or butterfly.
And, knowing that, I find the gift of empathy, the peace of belonging, and the grace of compassion and respect.
Have a fabulous Friday, my friends. Approach the world with an open mind, a giving heart, and accept the gifts it offers you with gratitude. It's a wonderful place, don't you think?