7Show me how marvellous is your unfailing love: your right hand saves those who seek sanctuary from their assailants. 8Guard me like the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.
Psalms 17: 7-8 – Revised English Bible
Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a blog about giving gratitude for the English Countryside in summer. At that stage, it was warm and sunny and our garden was full of butterflies of many kinds.
This year’s been so different. I can’t remember a colder spring than 2021, and many of the plants in our garden were scorched by a heavy wind-borne frost well into May.
But nature has such a wonderful way of healing itself that now you would have to know where to look, to see signs of frost damage. Everything looks zingingly healthy. Today yet again it’s wet, but there’s no way that nature can be depressed from its annual outpouring of joy.
Every year, we look out for the arrival of our first swallows, whilst holding our breath; these fabulous little birds seem to be under massive pressure and I know that a lot of places have lost their annual visitors. There are dark rumours of massive Chinese-made fine nets in northern Libya, designed to capture the birds on their way north to their summer breeding places.
So this year, we were thrilled to see that we had a couple of pairs nesting on our property and another couple at next door neighbours’. In the last couple of days, the chicks have fledged and the air seems to be alive with these tiny creatures learning how to fly. To say that they’re adorable is an understatement; they make my soul fly with joy at their antics. They chase each other, flutter up to our gutters, the better to launch themselves off again; they cling to our garden furniture, daring each other to take off again. Their tails seem almost to be made of lace at this early stage in their development and although their wings are still not fully developed, they’re true aerobats, swooping over the wheat behind us that’s on the verge of turning from green to gold. They cling to the telephone wires, chattering to each other with that wonderful high pitched continuous clicking sound that is as beautiful as it is fragile.
And so again my soul longs to praise God for this small annual miracle. It reminds us that, as preoccupied as we are with the continuing disaster of Covid, nature continues in its reflection of God’s love. Nature knows no more about Coronavirus than we know about what it must feel like to swoop at high speed barely inches above the crops.
Heavenly Father, we give thanks for the wonderful joy of nature in all its glory. Help us to see in it a reflection of your love for us. Amen