Saturday, September 20, 2008
Of solace, and ospreys.
Allow me to introduce Pandion haliaetus, or the osprey, in its North American form.
I am very fond of ospreys. I like how they look, and how they fly, and how they fish, and how they go on fishing even when their prey are filched from them by (COUGH COUGH) bald eagles (sorry about that, but so it is).
I look for ospreys when I am on vacation especially in my favorite East Kootenays stamping ground. There is one stretch of highway where, in June, I saw at least a dozen osprey nests on nesting platforms or bridges -- and where, one morning, I saw three PAIRS of ospreys all soaring over the wetlands at once. Much joy.
Now. You must imagine one of my parishioners. This man has a great attachment to the movie in which Sidney Poitier plays the handiman to a convent of nuns in the desert (Lilies of the Field, perhaps?) He especially savours the line, "I done built you a chapel."
So he tends to show up here at the church saying things like, "I done bought you some paper towels"... It is now a received joke between us.
He has heard about my fondness for ospreys; and this morning he approached me with a paper bag, and a large grin, and said, "I done brought you an osprey."
And so he had. It is one of the Audubon Society stuffed bird-model series.
And when you squeeze its middle, it makes an ornithologically correct series of squeaks and squawks.
I am greatly comforted.