What’s so special about this Yellow-vented Bulbul on a lamp?
Well, to me it is special, because this is my hailing bird!
About a year ago, on 16 November 2020, I was woken up with a strong inner prompting to go watch the sun-rise downstairs. And so I heeded. I took the lift from the 9th floor to the 3rd floor common area, and as I was wandering around, chanced upon this bird perched on a round lamp. The next morning again I was awoken with this inner prompt, I replied while yawning, “Again today?”. I did go, a little reluctantly. And lo and behold, as I turned, my eyes caught sight of yet another bird perching on the same lamp! While my technical mind would play games trying to figure out the probability of seeing a bird two times perched on the same lamp on two consecutive mornings, I sensed that this is what my Lord would have me do. Hence, since that day a year ago, this hailing bird marks the beginning of my sunrise, sky-watching journey, an amazingly awesome one indeed.
For those who know me, I was a night-owl for as long as I can remember. I love to snuggle up my pillow and sleep in. It took a couple of months before I completely changed from a night-owl to a lark, and this is a miracle! Or perhaps an answered prayer for a more disciplined life, along this ongoing journey of transformation and discovery, of self and God. Arise my Beloved! Be awed by the miracle and the mercies of each new day! The world is indeed charged with the grandeur of God … there lives the dearest freshness deep done things (Gerald M. Hopkins). This lark was beginning to see things and hear voices:
I heard the voice of Jesus say,
‘I am this dawning Light;
Look unto me, thy morn shall rise,
and all thy day be bright.’
I looked to Jesus, and I found
in him my Star, my Sun;
and in that Light of life I’ll walk
till trav’lling days are done. (hymn)
This peculiar gazing at the beauty of creation is a soul experience that is difficult to explain. The silence of dawn brings on an awareness of the presence of eternity, of the connectedness of everything, from ancient days. The stillness of soul brings us home as we heed the call to BE STILL and know that He is God (Ps 46: 10).
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by every moment that takes our breath away, someone once said. My good friend Robin introduced this Japanese idiom to me: Ichi-go ichi-e (一期一会), translated as “for this time only” and “once in a lifetime”, that describes a cultural concept of treasuring the unrepeatable nature of a moment. I am indeed grateful for her and the many breath-taking ichi-go ichi-e moments, etched in my heart and some stored in SD cards as well! My 2019 gift of a Auto-Zoom Camera was put to good use during those lockdown periods, and like I always say, it is all in God’s Kairos time.
There were some unrepeatable spark moments, like being woken up at 3.00am to take shots of electric pulses in the sky (lightning), or shimmering moonlight over my cat on my bed, the frantic woodpecker knocking, that elegant green iguana approaching, the snails gobbling stigmas, and petals popping in front of my eyes. I think it was God, in His own whimsical, doting way, giving me gifts, especially during special days, e.g. my birthday or certain feast days, or my sparrow-accompanying days. I cannot but smile and break into song:
Then sings my soul my Saviour God to Thee, how Great Thou art, how Great Thou art!
The least I can do, now that I have turned into a morning-lark!!
It wasn’t until February 2021, three months after that Wake-up call, that I plucked up courage (yet another prompt), to share some of these photos online, on Facebook (FB-SooChoo), so others can share in the joy of ‘absorbing’ the beauty of God in His creation, and God willing, to enhance this gift of spiritual intimacy with our Loving God.
The year has passed ever so quickly, a peculiar, wonder-filled, reclusive year. As on any other day, on Nov 16, 2021, at dawn, I went downstairs, loudly greeted by Boogie my contemplative feline friend, to watch the skies, to greet the day. I witnessed the sun rising from a thin crescent to a yellow ball of fire, almost like sacramental host, and I was mesmerised. Then unexpectedly as I turned, I saw this bird on a lamp. It sat there, enough time for me to snap his photo, before he flew off with a twitter, towards the western sky. Then I suddenly realise it was the same lamp that held my hailing bird exactly a year ago! It was that yellow vented bulbul. She came back to say “Hey! Happy 1 year anniversary”.
So, Carpe Diem! Seize the Day!
Let us treasure our moments because
“At no moment is love silent, every act is sacrament”, just like The bird on a lamp.