Living in Harmony

Watching a wildlife program about Japan has inspired me.

The most northerly island, Hokkaido has the harshest climate of all the islands of Japan. The people who have settled there are farmers who grow cereals and flowers in the short summer. Fishermen harvest the rich sea before the cold of winter freezes it over.

In September the Pacific salmon begin to return to the rivers of Hokkaido to spawn. Black bears gather at the coast to feast on the fish that team in the river mouths. Fishermen who also collect the bounty of salmon, sit mending their nets. These men and bears live in harmony with each other. There is plenty of food for both. Often a mother bear is fiercely protective of her cubs, but there is no need to fear in Hokkaido.

The farmers have reclaimed marshland on the coastlands. They were once the feeding grounds of large, tall, white birds called the Red Crowned Cranes. To the Japanese they are symbols of beauty and long life. A century ago their numbers were reduced to thirty pairs. They were in danger of extinction. The farmers, who drained the cranes’s feeding areas, rescued the cranes by giving them grain through the winter when the ground is frozen. Their numbers have now grown to 1000. Here is another example of men and wildlife living in harmony. They co-exist in the harsh conditions.

These cranes are known most of all for their singing and dancing. When they gather in large numbers they put on a show. The enormous birds lift up their heads and raise a deep call from their throats. They pirouette, jump and flap their large wings. They don’t crash on the icy ground. Their performance reminded me of the ballet dancers I saw recently in “Giselle.” The male star leapt across the stage. The many ballerinas created an enchanting atmosphere with their movements in the second act.

The Red Crested Cranes are an example to us. They live in a cold, harsh environment. They could chose a more comfortable climate. Instead they flourish, dance and sing where they are meant to be. Their beauty, strength and endurance are to be admired. I am encouraged to lift up my voice and dance, like the cranes before the One who created me, even in the most difficult of situations. The psalmist calls us to praise Him. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” Psalm 150 like King David danced with all his might before the Lord when he brought back the Ark of the Lord.

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Daily Prompt. Always something there to remind me.

I was reminded of the pain many Irish Families have suffered and still suffer as a result of one of them leaving home to live abroad when I listened to a lady sing to her great grandchild.

The Irish people are known for their storytelling, music, dance and songs.  River dance and the band U2 are know throughout the world.  There are many people of Irish descent that live far away from their homeland, in Australia, Canada or United States.  They keep their heritage alive by singing songs they knew before they left home.

I was watching a recording of a Canadian great-grandmother sing to her great-grandson an old Irish Ballad, called The Star of the County Down on the internet.  Here are some of the words.

Near Banbridge town, in the County Down
One morning in July
Down a boreen green came a sweet colleen
And she smiled as she passed me by.
She looked so sweet from her two white feet
To the sheen of her nut-brown hair
Such a coaxing elf, I’d to shake myself
To make sure I was standing there.
Chorus
From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay
And from Galway to Dublin town
No maid I’ve seen like the sweet colleen
That I met in the County Down.

I live near Banbridge in Co Down Ireland. I am touched that somewhere in Canada is a lady who stills remembers her homeland she left as a young woman. She is keeping alive her identity. She is now telling her great grandson about Ireland in song. She is sharing with her great grandson something about her past in song. Perhaps she identifies with that young strong lassie from Banbridge in the Co Down with the nut brown hair.  Now her hair is grey and her body is frail.  Outwardly she is wasting away but inwardly she is that young “Star of the Co Down.”  Some day that little child will ask his mummy “Where is Co Down that my Nanna used to sing about.”
She will tell the story of how Nanna left Ireland to live in a new country and all the adventures that followed, good and bad. When he grows up he will want to visit that place, about which his Nanna sang.

I have met many young people who have come to Ireland to return to the town or district where their forefathers lived. It is a holy moment for them. All sorts of emotions arise. They try to imagine the relative leaving home and family never to return.
Were their hearts breaking?
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/always-something-there-to-remind-me/

IF I WERE A BLACKBIRD

I have a big garden, hedgerows at the front and trees at the back. In the spring it becomes a hive of activity. Blackbirds, starlings and sparrows are busy overturning autumns leaves looking for insects.  They are getting strengthened for the busy time ahead, building nests and rearing young.

One year there were so many blackbirds nesting in the hedgerows, that I wanted to call our house, “Blackbird Cottage.”  It is a joy to hear them sing from early morning in May, when they are flitting to and fro feeding their young.  Sometimes their tones are raised when there is danger about in the form of our cat.

Today I missed the birdsong and all the activity of the birds in our garden.  I wondered, “Where do the birds go for the summer?”  I checked this question out on the Internet and the RSPB website gave the following information.  I quote.

“Firstly, for many birds we are coming to the end of a hectic breeding season.  After all of the battling for territory, courting mates, finding nesting material, gathering food for young and chasing off predators, it is no surprise that some of the birds are looking a little worse for wear.  Late summer is the time to moult all of the worn and damaged feathers to be replaced with a shiny new set that will keep the birds well insulated through the cold winter months.

During the moult, which takes a number of weeks, birds change their ways, becoming quiet and reclusive.  They don’t want to expose themselves to predators whilst they do not have a full set of flight feathers which would make them much more vulnerable.  They will still be around but skulking under hedges.  Also many birds depart to the wider countryside to feast on the seasonal peak of seeds and fruits.”

I mused.  That is exactly how I feel at the end of the summer.  I have been busy with rearing my children, when they are off school or university and there is more work for me to do.  We all stay up later because of the longer evenings, more outings for walks and definitely more cooking and shopping.  My feathers are definitely easily ruffled.  I have bags under my eyes, my nails are brittle, my hair is grey and my skin dry, my legs and arms are weak. If only I could fly away to some resting place like the birds where there is an abundance of fruit and food.

Psalm 55 v 6 says “Oh that I had the wings of a dove!  I would fly away and be at rest.  I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.”  Even the birds hide and rest.  God sees our distress, whether it is tiredness, mental anguish, worry about money or concern for a family or whatever trouble comes our way.

Jesus said to take the birds of the air as our example.  Matthew 6 v 26 says,

 Look at the birds!  They don’t worry about what to eat—they don’t need to sow or reap or store up food—for your heavenly Father feeds them.  And you are far more valuable to him than they are. 27 Will all your worries add a single moment to your life?”

Another comment on the RSPB was from a visitor.  He said  “Robins spend summer on the French Riviera: a popular spot is Juan-les-Pins.  Starlings flock to Brighton for the world famous murmuration festival, while blackbirds fly off to their second nests, usually in Cornwall.”

I laughed.  Birds of a feather flock together.  Starlings often gather together in flight and do acrobatics in the sky.  They dance and twirl to have fun.  It is good to meet up with friends of like minds and hang out for a while.  We are going to a gathering of friends at the end of September.

Some people are rich enough to have second homes in the sun.  We don’t have a second home but we are off to Greece soon.  Psalm 104 v 15 says, “God gives man wine to make him glad, and olive oil as lotion for his skin, and bread to give him strength.”  I will get my heart strengthened, body rested and sunshine to warm my bones.  We are learning from the birds.

Chow

Angela

Bible quotes from the Living Bible