Viewpoint from Colleen Palmer 08/10/10
Methodist Local Preacher
I set out to write about the autumn but have now turned my thoughts to ducks. Other folk will pen their thoughts about this ”season of mists and mellow fruitfulness“ - I’ve just read a superb column in the EDP celebrating the bountiful harvest - but perhaps no one else will write about ducks!
Before I moved to a small Broads village three years ago, my knowledge of feathered creatures was sparse; my brother is the twitcher in the family. I had been aware of the village pond of childhood days but adult years have found me living in the delightful seaside resort of Great Yarmouth
My husband, living in the country all his life, has recognised the needs of the ducks visiting the garden by purchasing weekly supplies of corn for some years. The ducks know where to come for a good feed, especially during the winter months
The young of every creature have a special appeal and ducklings are no exception. In the spring I have loved seeing mother duck protecting and calling to her young especially when there have been almost too many to count. Sadly, however, in the winter months when there was loud quacking at the door and indeed knocking with beaks my love rather evaporated
I have been known to rush with broom in hand to encourage them to find waters new in the garden pond of the neighbours; not for long however for they delight in coming back!
Yet as I have become accustomed to their presence I have mellowed. A smile comes to my face as I look out of the kitchen window and see them squeeze through the gap in the fence and waddle up the lawn. Even if they didn’t come through the fence they’d no doubt fly over. How graceful ducks look in flight as indeed do geese and swans
I now recognise that it is a privilege rather than a chore to provide food and water for our feathered visitors. Birds of various varieties bring much pleasure to folk both in town and country. As we glance at the hedgerows this Autumn we see them bursting with berries of every kind-elder, black, holly, hips and haws to name just a few .The birds reap the harvest God has sown
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus encourages his listeners not to worry about everyday matters. As God cares for the birds so He cares for each one of us too
I think it true to say that we have the responsibility and privilege to be stewards of the earth. If species are to survive then in some small way we can play our part by providing food when necessary. The hymn writer Rev. Fred Pratt Green has written:
Earth is the Lord’s; it is ours to enjoy it,
Ours, as His stewards, to farm and defend.
From its pollution, misuse and destruction,
Good Lord, deliver us, world without end!
The busy days of summer have passed to the more tranquil days of the autumn. I thank God for the pleasure I receive from our visiting ducks as they squeeze through the fence once more and waddle up the lawn.