Every evening in summer, when the sun tips over the pear tree, this bird starts singing. I'm not sure what kind of bird it is as it sits high up in the leylandii way above the house and I can't quite see it. But its song is astonishing - strong and high, the notes sailing up and down with such speed and clarity that it takes my breath away. How can such a tiny creature produce such a breath taking sound? He starts early, around 4, and is usually singing alone for the first couple of hours. It doesn't seem to deter him. Eventually, around supper time, another starts to answer him. You can easily hear his echoing call followed by a silence then a distant reply. This encourages him to sing louder and stronger, which then seems to encourage other birds to join in. And then, the song is unstoppable.
I love that bird.
"Mum!" groans my daughter, "Are you still going on about the bird? It's just a bird!"
But I can't help it. I love the way he keeps singing - I know it's nature or predisposition or mating, or whatever - but the bravery of it, the sheer determination, for two hours every evening on his own, before they join in, well, it undoes me.
It's because, at some time or other, we are that bird. We work alone, ink on paper (print on screen), determined enough at the start. This song is going to make a difference to someone, somewhere, some day. We warble away happily, the notes rising and falling eager to produce something original, thought provoking, wise. Then, as time goes on, we get bored or disillusioned or both and the song falters. This is where others join in - a writing friend sends us a note, an ACW contact posts something encouraging, we go to Scargill. Perhaps we start attending a local group. And somehow, against the odds, we see there's something worth keeping after all. We pick it up, reshape it, and the song gets stronger.
I appreciate the ACW so much. We're not perfect, but we have so much to offer each other and a bigger song to sing. Alone we can write well, maybe even produce a breath taking sound. But with God's help, and each other, we are unstoppable.
I worried by Mary Oliver
I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers flow
In the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it, and I am, well,
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing,
And I gave it up. And I took my old body
and went out into the morning