04 October, 2022

A bird song- gift from birds!

Each bird has a bird call, unique and distinct, which differentiates the species from the others. I tracked this Black hooded Oriole for a while in the morning before sunrise. I waited for an opportunity for its bird call. I felt glad to have been able to see and hear it. 

The musical notes in its call stood out from the bird calls of a Barbet and Drongo, who were in their flight stations close by. 

The Orioles are metaphorically connected to Archangel Auriel, therefore are symbols of mysticism, secrecy and nature. The spiritual symbolism associated with sighting an Oriole seems to suggest that 'someone near you needs some of your joy'!

It was when I reached our cottage after this,  our helper told me of a neighbour who is angry and reactive towards others disproportionate to the situation. Recently Anna and I received a mouthful from this person. 

While reflecting on this, it dawned on me to think of the spiritual mysticism the Oriole represents! Share joy ! 

The Oriole unlike some other birds do not give a string of bird calls. It gives away one or two and one has to wait for it to feel 'ready' to hear it sing again. Its call springs from a feeling of 'wellness' it seems. 

So the mission that has come to me today was clear: share the joy of life to those who are hurting, grieving, reactive and revengeful!

The mission in life is to 'have life and have it abundantly' in the words of Jesus of Nazareth!

Yes, the Oriole resonated this call from its bird call: share the joy of living!

M.C.Mathew( text and photo)


03 October, 2022

Receiving and labouring to receive !

I watched yesterday two events taking place in nature silently in our garden!

The first is the plants giving flowers and cuttings and seeds to continue their presence. They create the continuity for the future !

The second was the effort of the spider to weave its web to draw insects to feed on. The spider in this blog did get its feed. A small spider masterminded its strategy to continue the story for its species. 

A life is worthwhile only as much it generates a continuity of purpose.  

The plants give life to generations of plants; a spider weaves as a habit to attract its feed. In both instances, there is a purpose that is revealed. 

The plants give; the spider labours to exist. 

The soil gives the plant its resources; its roots can draw the nutrition form t soil.  It is not so  with the spider. It toils effortfully and has to wait for its feed.  

These are two contrasting stories of the ways of living. 

A child who is developmentally well receives from his or her environment and prospers. But a child who is developmentally challenged is limited to receive the resources from the environment for him or her to prosper. He or she has to be provided for. I suspect that a developmentally challenged child struggles to find support to grow and find the path ahead. 

At the end of having been involved with such children for the last forty years, I find that many children with neuro-developmental needs wait like the spider to find enough resources to move on. 

Most developmentally challenged children create a web of behaviour which convey their distress or inability, which is viewed by rest of us as disruptive behaviour. Let me suggest that their behaviour call our attention to recognise their need for understanding, support, consideration and kind gestures to accompany them.

I wish we receive gratefully what is given to us; in so doing we live mindfully of those who struggle to live and find their purpose! Their future is dependent on how much we care to enable them to find their purpose by timely support!

M.C.Mathew(text and photo)

02 October, 2022

From a seed to a fruit bearing tree!

We had a custard apple tree in our garden which had a life of about forty years. It was planted by my parents.  It suffered partial uprooting in a windy monsoon. It remained flat on the ground and bore fruits for another two years. Then it withered in a hot summer.

Anna  dried the seeds of the fruits and sprouted them. The sapling was planted in the garden two years ago. This year, to our delight, one tree has few fruits. This brown custard apple is different in texture and taste from the green fruits, which grow in bushy plants. 

It was Anna's enthusiasm and efforts which made this a reality. A lesson worth pondering upon. 

Some adverse circumstances give us an opportunity to develop our creative skills.  Any disappointment can have a purpose beyond the first impression. The human ingenuity can overcome the difficulties. Three cheers to Anna and her efforts to restore our garden by her thoughtful ways. Her latest effort was to create multiple compost pits. We have been surprised by the amount of manure they generate. 

To live well would also mean taking care of the environment !

M.C.Mathew(text and photo)

An evening visitor!

 The sun had set yesterday and what was left was just the twilight. 

When I looked out into our garden, I saw a movement in the guava tree. It was a Barbet feeding on the fruit. During the five minutes till it flew away, what I noticed was feeding without dropping any piece of guava from its bills. It took just enough bite between its bills and stretched its neck upward to swallow and rested for a few seconds before taking another bite. It worked on the rim of the fruit first and moved inward. What an intelligent approach!

I have some parents who confess that they have to resort to showing cartoon to make a child eat food. This happens mostly with toddlers and pre-schoolers. Most parents forget that the children refuse to eat as a bargain till they can view the cartoon. 

What if we show photos of how animals, birds, or even other other children eat before they start on the meal. 

A meal is an interactive time between the parents and the child. A child has to have experience of seeing the food, smelling the aroma, tasting it and chewing as a necessity to experience satiety! The is possible only by talking about food, and making story of how the cooked food item was grown in the field and now made ready to eat. A mother told me that ever since she began showing the rice field, harvesting the grain, raw rice, washing it and cooking it, before the meal started, the child was ready to hear about stories connected with cultivating the rice in the field. Her son by three years knew the difference between white rice and parboiled rice. 

A meal time is a time spent in conversation and bonding. It is a way one creates an ambience of endearing conversation. 

A parent tired and in a hurry to do the next chore, unfortunately might consider feeding the child as time consuming and effortful. That is why many resort to using the screen to engage a child and a child made to eat unaware of what he or she eats. 

The Barbet had a message for me. It was not just gulping the food in a hurry. It paused and planned for its each mouthful. 

When the Barbet flew away, I felt that its evening meal was a time of great pleasure from its body language. 

Whether it is a family meal time or a separate feeding time of a toddler, let me suggest that conversations and stories that connect children to the context ought to be the focus. All adult conversations can be held later. A family meal time is time to have inclusive conversations in which children can participate. 

I stay wondering at the learning lessons which birds bring each day!

M.C.Mathew(text and photo)


01 October, 2022

A Tree Pie at dawn!

A Tree Pie spent about half an hour on a coconut palm, moving from one place to another! I found it interesting to notice the changing complexion of its body plumage as the sun rays brightened the coconut palm.  

Yesterday when I spent sometime in the garden, I got a sense of the changing hues of colour in nature with sun slowly rising in the east! Those changing appearance of leaves brought a sense of the several wonders taking place in nature each day!

A stanza of the Hymn, 'O Lord my God, When I awesome wonder..' came to my mind, 

'When through the woods and forest glades, I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees
When I look down from a lofty mountain grandeur,
And her the broke, and feel the gentle breeze;

Then sings my soul...'

The hues of colours of the Tree pie changed because of the sunshine.

This to me is the sunshine of God. 

We receive the sunshine of God through times of reading the Scripture, meditation and silent times following that!

Yesterday a family told me that they found that their three year old child was developmentally delayed only when they went for medical examination to get a visa to go overseas. How much of darkness resides with parents when they do not recognise the developmental delay of their children !

I find the preoccupation for material pursuits alarming. Five of the ten families who visited had their children staying with grandparents because parents are occupied with work! Some of then work in double shifts to earn extra income! Children are not in the orbit of consciousness of some parents. 

Some live dangerously with skewed pursuits. 

It was therefore refreshing to watch the Tree pie becoming adorable as the sunshine fell on it! Many parents need the sunshine of God for them to adore and regard their children that their pursuits would have a larger space for investing in the lives of their children!

M.C.Mathew(text and photo)



29 September, 2022

Looking out for the night shelter of birds!

I set out when it is still dark on some days to move around in our garden to find the night shelter of some birds frequently spotted in our garden. 

I spotted a Barbet and felt good for getting it photographed amidst the poor light conditions. It was when I downloaded it from the camera, I realised that its pair also was perched in the next branch, whose body was visible partly in the frame. 

For better visibility I edited the photo. The original was too dark only with  faint outline of the birds.

Some bushes are night shelters for some birds. I remember  watching or hearing some bird movements at dusk and at down around some trees and  bushes in our garden. 

In my curiosity I went under a small mango tree in the late evening and played some bird calls. There was a reciprocal response. That was when I suspected that some trees are regular night shelters for some birds.  Now that I find them in pairs, this investigative journey becomes even more interesting. I need to get some introduction to night photography to become near to  birds at night. 

I know that birds do sleep during the from the photos I captured of a few scenes. Now the interest is turning to spot them sleep at night!

M.C.Mathew(text and photo)

28 September, 2022

A fly rests on the Flower!

I was watching the sunset with the sun rays fading away while the dusk was setting in. When the sun had set and with the twilight still left,  I noticed a fly approaching the rose flower in our courtyard. It hovered over the flower and settled on the it! Was that its night halt!

A fly small and insignificant as it might be, found its resting place for the night!

In fact I was carrying a burden of some unfinished work- writing medical reports of children, pending writing projects, getting into the digital mode at work, etc. I have recently got up in the nights with the thoughts of pending work. 

I was inspired by the stillness that set in at dusk. The chattering of the birds that create a cacophony at dusk was settling down to bring the stillness of this transition time. The brilliance of the horizon in the sky gave way to darkness. The trees and the bushes appeared merged with darkness. Th nature had clothed itself in the bliss of darkness and quietude. 

Watching this drama of transition, I too felt invited to let the burdens drop. I carry them only to feel heavy and end up having interrupted sleep. 

My thoughts went back to Isaiah, chapter 11, when the prophet spoke of what was to come: 'And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the Leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them (v 6). A vision of contradictions!

This came home to me that freedom from strife and stress was the substance of the vision of Isaiah. 

Yes, I live with the longing for peace amidst the burdens that remain within. To find peace inspite of the burdens is the calling. 

The twilight seasons in our life is an occasion to seek and find peace. The twilight time is a bright time or a transition time. The twilight can lead to the morning light or the darkness of night. 

In both instances the twilight is a resourceful time in one's life. Whether the twilight precedes the brilliance of the morning or the darkness of night, contradictions can stay within us- longing for peace but evasive because of the burdens we carry! The day is given to us to work through our contradictions to prepare for peace to embrace us in the darkness of the night. We consciously rest at night, hoping for peace promised in the vision of Isaiah.   

The night is a symbol of a way of living, when our striving shall cease and hope shall conquer our spirit! 

The fly settling in the embrace of the rose flower became a symbol to me as the darkness covered even the sight of the fly! The flower alone was visible in the darkness. 

I wish this imagery stays with me. Even in an intense darkness, the fly rests on the flower!

That was what, Jesus of Nazareth said, 'Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest' (Matthew:11.28)!

I stepped back to our cottage carrying the imagery of a fly resting on the flower! That was a rest providing vision for the night!

M.C.Mathew(text and photo)