The blue sky and sunny weather the day of my return to Belgium has vanished and rain has replaced it for 10 days straight! Umbrellas are up, mud is trekked,and puddles avoided on the way to Divine Offices in the church but no matter it is warm. The swans just outside the Beguinage walls seem to take no notice of the rain, they still sleep with their long graceful necks curved into their feathers and float placidly on the canal or retire under the spacious terrace for them under the trees. The ducks do the same except for one stray pair I spied from my cloister room window. There is a smallish pool in the center of the cloister with evergreens at each corner and goldfish swimming about.
Now on this morning, the fish had to share the pool with a lady and a man duck. The male preened on the edge and then slipped proudly into the pool. He was obviously courting lady duck and she was particularly coy unruffled by his display. After a few minutes of this standoff, both dove underwater and I suspect nature took its course. Eggs and baby ducks will appear in due time although it does seem a little early. The rain was incidental to the ducks who had found a protected place in God`s monastery for re-creation. The same is true for my monastery at home. The sparrows are continually nesting in the eaves of the cloister. Now I for one love watching the mothers nesting and the fathers gathering the food.Then eventually the spring babies peek over the protected trough where the nests are made. I think the brothers are not quite so enamored as nests and birds make quite a mess which needs continual tending to. The birds, bees, ducks and all of God`s creatures seem to know they can find safety and protection in God`s house. Not a bad lesson!