Friday, 9 December 2011

Messengers from heaven

I came across these images above and below, having typed 'Conference of the Birds' into a Google image search, and I found them on a site called 'Blogged be Thy Name'. I liked the images and title so much, that I not only lifted them from there without asking permission, but also signed up to follow this blogger, who describes his/her posts as 'an irreverent study of religion in a profanely sacred world'. I was hooked.

I had originally wanted to simply illustrate a post which carried on from the singing blackbird one of last night and, as so often happens, got thrown off on a wonderfully serendipitous tangent.

This time of year, I am often invited to go shooting pheasants on various estates, but I always decline. It's not that I don't like eating pheasant - I do - it's just that I cannot bring myself to bring down a creature which has been blessed with the power of flight, albeit (in the pheasant's case) so stupid that it prefers to run in front of cars rather than take off out of harm's way.

Also, I have a very personal attitude to killing things for sport - I don't like it, and would rather let others do it for me. Ironically, those others would take an equally dim view if they saw me shoot a pheasant which is standing on the ground - it's just not sporting, don't you know. We all have our codes of moral conduct, and they don't always universally apply.

I share a similar view about killing things for sport as all Moslems in this respect - they don't like it either. In fact, in the Mohammedan outlook to the natural world, birds are the messengers of God, and if you shoot one of them out of the sky, you may not receive a vital piece of information which could have changed your life, as it changed Mohammed's. I don't know what they think about chickens.

I was walking through a big market square in Istanbul, when I saw a small child somehow grab one of the many feral pigeons which were flocking around at the time. The pigeon was flapping and struggling, trying to release itself from the boy's clumsy grip, and the boy could not believe his luck/skill in catching it, so paraded about the square whilst deciding what to do next.

The decision was made for him, when a large man in traditional garb, turban and full black beard walked over to the boy, gently but firmly released the bird which flew back to it's mates on the top of a fountain, then went on his way.

They're not all terrorists, you know.


  1. Beautiful. The topic of birds suits you, Tom.
    Poachers of the Britain seem to have nice full bellies thanks to the habits of so called 'sports' shooters. I discovered that after getting distracted whilst writing my last post on lurchers.

  2. I wonder if you remember the 'well-built' Greek gal from college called Helen E. Her mother used to go around London with a bag of bread pieces, feeding the pigeons. When one landed on her hand for a snack, she'd grab it and put it in her bag. I think they lived off roast pigeon, even though they ran a fish-n-chip.

  3. Yes, I remember her well, Cro, and often tell that story to others. She became friends with the band Osibisa - before they became famous. She was a Cypriot I seem to remember, and the other Greeks (including Athanasios) used to sob about the old country over a few drinks.

    Poachers, Sarah - they still get a hard time.