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Friday, December 9, 2011

A Kookaburra with a Message

By Damian Papworth

I woke up this morning to my usual routine, an hour of work prior to the local cafe opening. Once 7am arrives, I dress my daughter in whatever is convenient, bundle her in her pram and head down to get my morning caffeine hit. I got to the front gate today thought and stopped dead in my tracks. There sitting on the fence post, a mere two feet from us, was the king of the kingfisher birds, an Australian Kookaburra.

I admired its courage, we were so close and it had not flown away. These are not tame birds, they typically shy clear from humans. The memory of this encounter will stick for a long time, it is so rare. I alerted my wife to the visit too, so she could come outside slowly and meet our friend and there the four of us stood, enjoying each other's company for nearly five minutes.

Having had my coffee now though and reflecting on the experience, I realize I blundered my way to the gate, to within two feet of this bird without even knowing it was there. I know the kookaburra was aware of me, was I really that caught up in my own little world though that I did not see this creature till we were almost butting heads? Did I really need to get close enough that we were eyeballing each other before I even noticed he was there?

One more step and surely I would have sent the kookaburra to flight. I would have missed this wonderful start to the day; it would simply have been sacrificed to inattention. What a terrible loss as these magical moments with nature are so rare. It was really a little bit of a wakeup call. Slow down and smell the roses. There is so much happening right now, yet we are all rushing to tomorrow, eyes so focused on the future we forget to enjoy the present.

From my home on Australia's Gold Coast, my young family of three are blessed with the song (or laughter) of kookaburras quite regularly. Never have I experienced one in such a personal way as I did today. I know from today too that the kookaburra's song will have a special meaning for me; there will be a message in every verse. "Slow down Damian" it will sing. "Enjoy what is in front of you right now". A message perhaps we all can benefit from.

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