Farewells, meeting old age, lessons of a quail and the wayland song…

First published on Saturday, 23 April 2011 at 05:29 Facebook

My daughter said she wants everything to die of old age now both pets and family – it’s not always possible but we will do our best.

We went and double proofed all the cages and I am up early listening out for that cat on the balcony trying its luck.

We wrapped our dear little light grey quail called Buddy in a pillow case and buried him in the garden.

My daughter placed palm fronds across his grave under the shade of the banana plants in the garden.

There were a few tears all round.

Then friends came over to visit, they were always scheduled to come.  It was good for the afternoon to take our mind off the loss of the bird.  I love hospitality, where you truly can chat with people and share an afternoon with them and get to know them a little better.  What a glorious day, chilling at the pool, so far away from cyclones (although David is telling our story again).  No facebook for me, but a real space visit.

But Lawksette kept crying for her mate – and then tending to her chick.  Ridvan is growing fast.  He has stripes now.  Lawksette has five more eggs to hatch.  Life will go on, and we will find her another mate.  Still it is so sad to listen to her grief song.

My daughter said she misses Peep (our other pet bird that died) and Buddy now.  They will be forever in her heart.  What does that mean?  She will know of their lives and the happiness they bought her.  She will remember the Ridvan chick, and how Buddy survived a cyclone.

People who don’t really know me make demands on me and I question all the demands.  I can share and give and be there, but sometimes I need time with my family. I don’t want to explain this, or justify this.  Nor do I think I should ignore them but in someways I  don’t think they are seeing how connected we are all to links with other people, and things and it is important to take time out to acknowledge and celebrate this.  They are centred on what concerns them mostly and sometimes I think they end up using other people and can’t see beyond their own needs- blinkered souls shut in.  Maybe they are building castles in sand, and gardens with trees that don’t suit the areas they live in?  I don’t know.  I search for an appropriate metaphor and I think it’s that they lack compassion and just want something from you NOW NOW NOW.

I think of little father Buddy and how this life can be so short.

I question people wth overarching ambitions that take all time away from family and sacrifice it at the altar of success – but  also know each person needs wings and to not be hedged in to express their God given talents. There is a balance a mid point. Some people completely overlook that in taking care of themselves they take care of others.

As we head to old age how do we want to be remembered? I ask this question and think of people who overlook the importance of little acts in their life which bring relief or grief to others.

It is too easy for people to forget and focus on themselves and what they need for some moment of happiness, but real happiness is more than simple material happiness – it is to be at peace with oneself, and conscious of one’s soul.

And small things don’t worry me when they are obstacles, but small things count when they bring happiness to others.  But I don’t want to bring a moment of happiness  but share what truly makes us happier beyond even this life.  ‘Faith’ plays a role in this, but faith, where one also remembers to ‘tie up the camel’ that is take practical steps.

green, green, green……

So the cages are double proofed and we learn much from our pets, but also it is hard for me to take seriously anything petty in this life.  I feel like my soul’s feet are walking somewhere else, and there is so much more to everything.  Little things take us to the bigger questions.

There is more than writing, although this is like my heart and soul of being, and more than the image of a photograph, which  I so enjoy taking.  There is more than making everyone else happy and never having any personal happiness or self worth at all.   There is more than only making oneself happy and ignoring the pleas for help in the world.  There is beyond it all a soul fluttering around the cage of a body wanting to know itself properly and put aside petty things.

This is how we journey to from old life to new life, whether young or old.  Questioning and looking for answers to life, death and parenting.  I love what Terry Pratchet said recently, that he did not fear the unknown, of life after death, the here and now was more to be feared (due to his alziemers and maybe the state of the world?)  but the unknown of another life beyond that – seemed a great adventure.

I wonder if he will find his discworld creations have given him wings to traverse even that rough passage to after death and his humourous compassionate reaper figure (who has a daughter) will be waiting for him.  Fiction can have a power that sometimes isn’t given to the realm of facts.

Grief can be replaced by deeper wisdom and learning – and one day we will all face the unknown.  I think my daughter wshes for us all plenty of time to really get to know ourselves and others- and a kind journey to that great adventure.

I read the Ridvan message today, from the governing body for the Bahai’s of the world. It was short and sweet, and encouraged us to reach out to everyone in the world that it will be the recognition of our own spirituality that will heal all our ills.

And the recognition of something greater than the sum of the whole will give us the wings for humanity to fly. I think of a song by Seals and Crofts, Wayland the little white rabbit, not sure if that was its name.   I always loved this song.    It seemed so deep, and to touch on the sacrifice many make in their death, and at Easter time and Ridvan too it’s  fitting to remember those great souls,  Bahau’llah, Christ, Buddha, who have the mercy to care and tend to all.  I think of Buddha saving the swan that someone shot, and the mercy we must show to God’s creation.

So that is the lesson of Buddy and I will always remember the little grey quail and its spirit – now running in the heart of my daughter.  And for me their spirits together will run in my heart, and I hope that my daughter will reach the old age or the wisdom that she needs in this life.

(c) June Perkins, all rights reserved

4 thoughts on “Farewells, meeting old age, lessons of a quail and the wayland song…

  1. You are, my friend,may I call you that? A tower of wisdom. You have taken from the destruction of a storm the gifts it had to offer, and there were gifts, so well hidden that only a chosen few would discover them. Thank you for this speaking to me/to us from your soul. I was spell bound by your words and the depth of vision they presented.



  2. What you say is so true! We have taken a 17 year old girl into our home to get her out of a bad situation and to teach her how to care for herself when she goes off to college. I really don’t expect anything in return; however, the demands on my time are frustrating. It’s me, me, me and now, now, now. So I shall take a page from Pearl’s
    Bood of Wisdom and help her learn about the ripple effect of her actions. Thank you for voicing what I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) find words for. And my blessings to your bird friends adn the lessons they brought during their short lives.


  3. Wow, I wholeheartedly agree with what you’re saying Aunty June- I’ve been thinking about exactly this a lot lately (the importance of family and yourself). The more I think about it, the more wisdom I see in having a balanced life- eg there’s no point spending all your time volunteering to make the world a better place if it means neglecting your family (which in turn will have really bad consequences).
    I also think that different people have different capacities. Some people can go out and about and do lots of activities and still remain energised. Some people might become exhausted from only doing one extracurricular activity. Some people may be unable to leave the home. But we can all contribute to the betterment of society in some way, and I think it’s narrow-minded to think that “one-size-fits-all” applies here and to judge people accordingly. For example, if you’re unable to leave the house, you may be able to do wonderful things by blogging, or emailing/phoning isolated people to keep their spirits up. You may be able to do a lot of the behind the scenes work required for all the grassroots action these other energised souls are able to do. Of course, doing all you can is really important, but “all you can” does have a limit, and it’s so important to look after yourself and your family too!!


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