2nd January 2023

“Was it something I said?”

“Rude she-cats! Mutter mutter.”

After hitting us up for three lots of breakfast, the boy took himself around the front to stare at the all-purpose hole in the sumac.

Perhaps he fancied a main course of mouse or chipmunk.

Then Grant went out with his walkers.

Muffin suggested to His Nibbs that this is actually our sumac bush.

“‘No poaching‘, was all I said.

“Boy-cats are so sensitive!”

The day got off to a pinkish start before rain clouds moved back in.

As hard as he tried, the Sun could not prevail.

Sparrows are not at all put out by a grey day. They just don’t like snow.

They watched cat antics, from the safe distance of their favourite tree.

and seemed awfully pleased with themselves today.

“Glad to have been acknowledged on the blog!”

“It was about time!”

In fact, I quite often mention sparrows. They are ubiquitous. From as far back as I can remember, sparrows have always been there.

Wherever there happened to be at any given time.

Not the same birds of course, but a local branch of the Sparrow Clan.

They will have been the first wild birds I knew.

‘Common’ little birds, far too much taken for granted.

When we first came to live here, we were always amused, when we went food shopping, to find sparrows perched among the supermarket carts.

It was as if they were in charge. They sat, chirping and nattering until you went to get a cart and then they would stop momentarily, as if monitoring a transaction and as we trundled off:

“Oh you’re taking that one. Very good, Bring it back now!”

We looked forward to seeing our little friends and I wrote a very silly poem about them.

Then Covid arrived, and everything changed.

We had always talked to the Hannaford’s Sparrows and told them to follow us home. We would look after them.

Funnily, it was as if they did just that, because suddenly we appeared to have our own flock.

And when life resumed “normality” the Hannaford’s Sparrows did not return to take charge of the shopping carts.

Before I got old and really soppy, I used to read every animal book I came across. Any sort of animal, bird or creature.

And the vast majority of those books related the inevitable death of the subject creature. I would shed a tear, place the book on a shelf and pick up the next one.

But somewhere after my 50th year, reading that sort of story became too painful. Something to do with separation anxiety, I think.

When I found myself weeping copiously and uncontrollably over a dog that lived and died before I was even born, I realized it was time to stop exposing myself to such ‘triggers’.

The dog in that book survived all manner of dramas and died happily in old age. Really, it was nothing to cry about!

A very excellent book about a really extraordinary dog.

It was thinking about Sparrows that brought me to the subject of sad books. What sane person would shed tears over an unknown Sparrow?

It was surprising enough to find a story about a sparrow that had actually found a publisher. But as I read it, I realised that it was about far more than just a bird. The author’s deep depression lifted when he became involved with this tiny bird.

It was one of the last animal books I read.

Even now, leafing through it and reading the odd passage, causes tears to well in my eyes.

It is one of my favourite such books and I would like to re-read it but I am not sure I ever shall. I have come a million miles from the bottomless pit depression I suffered for so long, but I still have to guard against the old triggers.

If you are not inclined to fits or irrational weeping, I would highly recommend the book.

It is an example of how deeply we can be affected by other life forms if we acknowledge them for the wonder that they all are.



.*LBJ: generic name for unidentified small brown birds

Affectionately: Little Brown Jobs


5 thoughts on “*LBJ

  1. I think most of us become more emotional as we get (a little) older. My wife and I can quite easily be in tears over the death of even a cartoon animal, and a tear jerker film will work for us time and time again. Why do we put ourselves through it?

  2. Thank you, Carolyn, for your lovely musing, and the pictures.
    Would you be very kind and email to me the name of the publisher(s) of the books you featured?


  3. The sparrows are really making sure they stay out of everyone’s way … it’s amazing how they’re sitting on the highest tops of that tree! I know myself all too well – no animal books (or animal movies) for me, I cry my eyes out!

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