We are in a strange time at the moment, a waiting time, both personally, seasonally, locally, agriculturally … I live in a farming area, not a farmer myself but with farms and farmers throughout the Adelaide Plains Council area I live in. I travel 25km to Gawler, a country/suburban town just north of the Adelaide suburbs, and trying to hang on to it’s country roots.

But as I said, I live further away, and the country is in my face as I drive, or look out of my front window, with tractors and trucks with livestock frequently encountered. Our road is quiet, cars passing by at the rate of perhaps five units every five minutes, or less than that often. I see far more birds of various species at my place than I see vehicles.

As I wrote, it’s a strange time. The farmers have been out in their paddocks doing what they have to do to get ready to plant the seeds for a new cropping season, but waiting (I suppose) for the rains to come to help those seeds to grow. Today we have cloudy skies and a still day, so the clouds aren’t going anywhere at all, just hanging in there, waiting, as I am, we all are, for the time for the next step to arrive …

Things are still happening. I say outside this morning, watching things happening from the comfort of the old sofa on the back veranda. From there I could see those clouds, the trees all around, ours and those of our neighbours. I could see most of our dogs, who were exploring outside, as dogs do. I could see birds, quite a few birds.

I’m quite fond of birds. Not cage ones, held captive, but wild birds, that fly free, bring the glory of flight to my consciousness every day as I see them doing their thing. In fact I am a bit of a Twitcher , but a laid back and local one. Twitchers can go well overboard, from my point of view. No that’s not true – being passionate about something, and acting on your passion is an admirable thing, as long as no-one gets hurt.

Looking at that definition, I think I am more an admirer of birds, and a keen sometimes watcher of birds, rather than a Twitcher … Anyway, I was sitting out there, looking at dogs, clouds, trees, ants, and birds, when suddenly … Nature, red in tooth and claw or however that quote goes, Nature and instinct leapt into action. I saw a newly fledged sparrow on the ground about fifteen metres away, below a big and bushy bush we have. seconds later Lah Dee, our adult male Pharaoh Hound saw it too. He was closer to the bird than I was and within four seconds, he had that poor bird inside his slavering jaws, and was trying to negotiate the eating of his feathered repast …

lah De

The beast in non-slavering mode

It took Lah Dee longer to eat the bird than it took him to catch and kill it. Nature seems cruel, but in the long run, we all have our chance to be born, live and then we will die, all of us. I felt sorry for the bird, but also felt guilt for my almost immediate thoughts about how great this incidence was as a writing prompt for me … I almost had the haiku written, and the longer verse, perhaps a sonnet planned out … In the end, I am writing a blog post, and will perhaps explore further literary modes later on in the day …

Sparrows are the most common bird we have at our place, there have been many born this season. Our dogs are important to us, and we love them and look after them. I will remember that Lah Dee has had a morning snack and will feed him slightly less for his evening meal. These Pharoah hounds are hounds, and all hounds are hunters, with strong prey instincts. Who am I to castigate this dog for doing what comes naturally to him? When I look at it like that, it’s easier to live with the thoughts about it. If he had caught and eaten say a White Plumed Honeyeater, I would have felt much sorrier about it all. This Honeyeater is a rarer visitor, it is a native bird and not an ‘import/feral one’, and there are far fewer of them here.

And of course these hounds are not native to this land, as white people are also not … Thinking on these themes of worth, Nature, guilt, instinct is a useful way to think, and explore the various ideas … I would love to know what you think about it all. PLease leave a comment below!

 

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