I was reminded today of an incident that happened one beautiful spring morning some 10 years ago. I was walking into work and was aware of a Collared Dove, perched out in the open on a branch that hung above the pavement, singing it’s heart out. As I walked towards it, with the sun highlighting the bird and somehow intensifying its rhythmic song, a woman was walking towards me, pushing a young child in a buggy. The child had seen the Dove and was looking up at it, pointing, with a look of wonder on her face. We all met directly underneath the singing bird. The child turned around in her buggy to carry on watching the Dove, still totally entranced by it. I was taken in by this innocent acceptance of the beauty and wonder of such a simple thing. The girl turned to her Mother, and with unbridled joy said to her,
“Look Mummy, a pigeon!”
And do you know what words of encouragement, what utterances of shared wonder came from her Mother in return - and I am not making any of this up...
“It’s not a pigeon, it’s a fucking Cuckoo!”
That three-year old kid didn’t stand a chance.