Bird in the Hand

Old ladies have been known to swing handbags and umbrellas at potential thieves. This Sunday morning found two oldish sisters in the rain swinging an umbrella at a thieving bird trapped under the netting of a cherry tree.

One sister, from her convent room on the second floor, can survey the monastery domain,the garden, the chicken house and the expanse of grass behind the monastery walls; the chickens promenade on the grass each afternoon foraging for food and we humans walk by on the path. One cherry tree, this year very prolific, adorns the expanse of green grass. To preserve these cherries for us, the sisters, it is a fight to the death with the birds who seem to think they are the proud owners of this tree! Now the birds have other berry trees within the monastery walls of which we humans can not eat. However, sharing was not on their minds this morning when a whole family of birds were spied from the second floor window eyeing greedily the nearly ripe cherries on this tree. I do not know if the birds in the Garden of Eden could eat from the tree of which Adam and Eve were instructed not to partake; however the net covering the cherry tree clearly instructed the birds not to partake of this one.

Cherry tree bird 3
The monastery handy man had carefully covered the tree with what seemed to be an adequate amount of netting (maybe more than adequate) BUT the birds were determined; they could be on the ground and fly up into the tree inside the netting. The problem then remained after having eaten their fill how to exit. You guessed it…one bird was trapped having found a small hole through which she thought she could exit…but then her wings were caught in the netting and only her beak and breast were out!

Cherry tree birdI was making lace. Deciphering out in Nederlands from the rather agitated sister that it was not a Christmas tree that was being discussed but a cherry tree with a bird in it needed a visual. Christmas and cherry sound alike in Nederlands. Learning another language has its amusing misconceptions, you must roll with the punches. So off I went with the sister to investigate. Sure enough there was a bird caught in the tree netting and it was pouring down rain as it does unexpectedly here in Belgium…the sun is shining brightly now with blue sky all around! The rain let up a bit and this sister really wanted that bird out. We attacked the case! She shook the netting and I poked the umbrella into the netting to dislodge the bird. I could actually touch the bird who for about 5 minutes submitted to this irritation and disturbance. Finally, she found for herself a way by which to exit. Phew! We repaired the holes as best we could and determined to speak with the handyman tomorrow (Monday) for further repairs. Two sisters were just as determined as that bird to have those cherries.

Cherry treeThe story does not end though. I get my camera and go to the garden to photograph the cherry tree for this blog and there is another bird trapped in the net; this time really tightly trapped. I touched him but he did not seem disturbed. Midday service required my presence but not before I took his photo and promised to pray over his plight. Musing over kitchen shears and birds and cherry trees competed with the psalms for my attention in midday. Two sisters returned to the tree after service but…the bird was gone!…. a cat was lurking nearby so whether the bird made a Sunday dinner feast for the cat or if an angel came to extract the bird is anyone’s guess.

The battles continue; the war is far from won!! We gathered string and clothespins from the kitchen and closed the bottom of the netting and then put a couple of CDs on a string to make noise in the breeze; ring would be overstating the case. Tomorrow or later this afternoon we will observe the progress of the battle for the cherries.
The sisters are just as determined as the birds. We will see who wins!


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