Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Yardbirds

No,… this is NOT a blogpost about one of the most influential rock bands of all time, noted for starting the careers of three of rock's greatest guitarists: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, all of whom were in the top fifteen of Rolling Stone's legendary 100 Top Guitarists list (Clapton as #4, Page as #9, and Beck as #14.) No,… I want to tell you about my new yardbirds, or as I call them, my guard birds.

I always sensed that my Secret Garden about which I wrote a few posts (and a long time) ago was missing something. I knew exactly what “that something” was the first time I laid eyes upon a pair of Crested Cranes, the national bird of Uganda that is also indigenous to Rwanda. I spent a year seeking a pair, which are illegal to capture and transport, but not illegal to possess (or so I am told). Just about everybody in Rwanda knew that I wanted a pair. Finally, after a year of lonesome longing, my doorbell rang unexpectedly, and there at my gate stood a total stranger who spoke no English, with a Crested Crane sticking its head out of a large gunny sack. I was delighted to purchase Big Bird, with another to be delivered the next day (which turned out to be an anxiety filled week of waiting for our family to be made complete). As Matt Smith noted when I first acquired these birds: “Well, Tom, you are finally living your dream.” (That was actually true even before I topped it all off with these new additions.)

I would watch these birds for hours, IF ONLY I had the time (but I do not). They are so majestic, so fascinating, and so stupid,… dumber than a doorknob. They bring a whole new understanding to the expression “birdbrain”. But when I watch them with near disbelief as they collide into walls, trees, and each other, and panic when it is only I, their loving caretaker bringing them food with a soft Pavlovian whistle as I have every morning at the same time for 5 weeks, I realize that God loves, cares for, and observes me (and perhaps you) with the same gracious amazement as I… as I… well let me be charitable to myself,… as I flail and fail to draw upon the knowledge, the wisdom and the faith that He has made so readily accessible to me.

Dale Dawson would insist that this report is incomplete if I fail to mention the "wing clipping" that I necessarily performed for their own good, which Dale witnessed with great amusement as feathers flew. Now doubt, there is some sort of a "Pastor's illustration" in that little episode as well, but I will not further indulge.

The blood on my hand and the right side of my shirt is mine, and clear evidence that this lovin' feeling is not mutual. This in not a lap dog, but rather a ferocious, attack-trained guard bird. BEWARE!

(Click on any photo to enlarge.)