Vicars Letter

Dear Friends

I love the way that nature makes you stop sometimes.  The other morning at breakfast I saw our resident Bullfinch; well I say resident, these birds are so shy you hardly notice them; even though they are a vibrant red!  I was also privileged to see my first Hen Harrier gliding effortless across the wetlands of Pulborough Brooks RSPB sanctuary recently – at least I think it was a Hen Harrier; you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Nature happens all the time around us.  For several weeks now, the Dunnock’s have been singing from the hedgerows as I walk to morning prayer; their song is vibrant, you could say, I feel, as good any Nightingale – and yet if you don’t know what you are looking for, they could just be another ‘sparrow like’ bird.  To truly understand nature you have to be aware of it, you have to stop, listen, look and enjoy.  If your life is too busy for this, then you really have a problem – firstly because you are missing out on these little treasures and secondly because, being too busy is not good for you.

Could we argue, that nature is God’s way of making us stop!  A default setting that should help us to relax and breath – for example: does a first snowdrop make you think about spring, the first daffodil lighten your mood, the first blossoms of spring enrich you – these are natural things, and yet their power to change us is enormous.  These created things, part of our wonderful, colourful world are free to all!  As I sit at my desk just outside my window Snowdrops nestle in the brown foliage of last summer’s ferns – beautiful and crisp, gently swaying in the breeze:  Today they speak of resilience; how can something so small and fragile survive the frost and torrential rain? – but they do.

Last winter I had the joy of seeing Lapwings in the field opposite Selham church.  They surprised me, because unlike in the past, they don’t seem to inhabit our fields anymore.  In light of this Gill and I went to Pulborough Brooks recently (hence the sighting of the Hen Harrier) because my neighbour had told me they were there feeding.  How wonderful to see them; that beautiful paddle shaped wing dancing across the sky; and yet on the ground so small and insignificant.  Their flight is a joy; I felt enriched by seeing them – thank you God for such natural things that lift a bleak winter’s afternoon.

And so I ramble on – please forgive me!?  And yet, very soon the Willow Warblers will fill the down lands with their song.  Yellow Hammers will spread flashes of Yellow across the Gauze and as I sit and fish in the heart of Easebourne Village I will share my time with a family of King Fishers feeding across the lake.  And if nationally, we are told, Sky Larks are in decline, walk above our villages and hear their spiralling song – life is good, spring is on the way – enjoy what is provided for you; stop and listen; open you r eyes and your life will be so much more richer for the experience.

Happy Spring everyone!

Derek Welsman

From the records:

Baptisms:  Iris Margot Gould

Funerals:  Lynda Simpson, Audrey Veitch, Fred Slade, Isobel Proctor, Jean Pickett