The following Blog has been written by Jenny Arnold:
During the past weeks of what has become known as ‘this time of isolation,’ we have all noticed how much quieter our surroundings have been. A reduction in traffic noise is perhaps the most obvious.
Living, as I do, just off the Silkin Way, and backing onto allotments, there has always been a preponderance of bird song. I have, over time, learned a few names to attach to the song and was saddened a couple of weeks ago to find that my cat, Josh, had brought in a Robin which was, in the words of Monty Python, ‘no more.’ I held his little feathered body in my hand and wept as he, or she, had been delighting me all winter with his song for the Robin is one of the few birds who continue to sing all year round.
On the plus side, Josh is a very good mouser and keeps the surrounding mouse population under control. He is apt to bring them home for me however and there has been many a morning when I have trodden on a dead one whilst padding into my kitchen to make my morning cup of tea. I am afraid I don’t shed as many tears over these little beings but I do marvel at their perfect little bodies.
In my small area of rear garden, I have attempted to create a sensory raised bed and amongst other flowers and shrubs, I have a miniature Lilac, a ‘Mock Orange,’ a Rosemary bush, French Lavender and a wonderful climbing rose.
Along with these deliciously scented gifts of God come the bees as they diligently search for the pollen and nectar to produce their honey. Together with the bird song I find myself blessed, and whilst the recent spell of warm sunny weather added to the blessings – I also valued the rain, for without rain there is no life.
I am told that the Rosemary is covered with small blue blossoms, and as I squeeze a few leaves between my fingers, the pungent Rosemary oil is released – I use it to add to my cooking.
The Mock Orange is well in bud and in a couple of weeks should be weighed down with snowy, orange-scented blossoms. I noticed yesterday that the Lilac is bursting into bloom also and offering me a heavenly scent. The climbing rose has had a good dollop of manure around its roots and will grant me its scented pink flowers in abundance from June to October.
Precious gifts indeed from our Creator God, but for those of you who may listen to Gardener’s Question Time on Radio 4 I should tell you that this is not my entry to the programme…
Song of Solomon Chapter 2 and verses 12 and 13 tells it from the word of God:
‘Blossoms appear in the land. The time of the songbird has arrived. The cooing Mourning Dove is heard in our land. Fig trees are bearing fruit. While blossoms on grapevines fill the air with perfume.’ This translation is from God’s Word Registered Translation
And yes, I do have a pair of doves, well, probably wood pigeons, who, for about 3 years now, have been nesting close by and who occasionally use my bird bath with much splashing and a wary eye out for Josh. It is probable that the allotment gardeners aren’t too happy with their presence – all those new, Spring shoots and greens. Yum
So what is all this about? Well it’s about God’s ordered creation and the cycle of life and death, renewal and hope. Whilst of course we mourn and pray for those suffering and dying during this Pandemic, I heard a news report that 1,600 babies have been born on average each week this year. Surprised me but on checking the figures with the Office of National Statistics I must have misheard as the figures given for the number of births per DAY in 2018 were around 2,200. So you do the maths!
The mice that Josh brings home will be from a litter of maybe 5 to 10, and throughout the year, especially in the Spring and Summer, a female mouse will produce 5 to 10 litters of mice. My little Robin, who died at Josh’s paw, will have had a mate who will have found a new one and even now 4 or 5 tiny and delicate blue eggs will be nestled in a cosy moss lined nest.
And what of Josh? Well, despite his hunting tendencies he too is a gift and a blessing. He is my third rescue cat – the previous one, Minnie, feeds the rose as she is buried beneath it. I adopted Minnie from the Cat’s Protection League and she lived happily and securely with me for over 11 years.
Josh came to me 3 years ago from the RSPCA. He is a loving companion and very affectionate. He is also very vocal and friends are convinced that he knows I am blind. I can truthfully say that I have never tripped over him. Gifts indeed, and new lives for two unwanted animals. I almost forgot to tell you about my third rescue cat, a pretty tabby I called Nikkei. Well she was found along with her litter mates in a black plastic bin liner dumped outside a school. Saved to enjoy many happy days lazing in the sun…
And what about the Lilac, the Rosemary, and the rose? Well, they survived the winter frosts in their dormant states but have now burst forth joyfully with the Spring and coming Summer.
Let us thank our God for the wonders of His provisions and the wonders of His Creation, and the gift and sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ who, through His suffering, death and resurrection, has given us new life