This is the story of a sparrowhawk coming to my garden and eating one of the small birds that I feed. Through this story I explored my past and current situation and my links with the countryside and the city.
This story was made on a four and a half day training workshop for artists and practitioners aiming to join Bristol Stories Network in order to help facilitate future programme of workshops, and also benefit from other training opportunities.
The course was led by Ruth Jacobs and Liz Milner, and took place at Watershed during February and March 2006. The project was supported by Bristol’s Museums, Galleries & Archives.
[Sound of birdsong]
I grew up in the countryside. There was always dirt on my hands and knees; animal hair in my clothes.
I was outside from first light til dusk, strong legs and rosy-cheeked, space to run and spread my wings. Feeling the ground beneath my bare feet.
Is this where my heart lies?
[Sound of city traffic constant hum sounds of screeching brakes, the thunder of lorries, helicopters voices in the distance coming in and out]
Coming to the city, an excited teenager in search of a new life, study and opportunities. Time passes: I’m now a city girl, I wear fashionable clothes. Shoes keep me safe from cold concrete and unyielding tarmac; no mud, not even cat hairs adorn my dress.
Have I lost my heart to a faster pace? Here in my city garden, hemmed in by high walls and city sounds, is a green oasis, free of chemicals and that oh so manicured look. I plant trees and shrubs, cover the walls in ivy, fencing hidden by flowering climbers, rich earth full of worms, and the buzz of insects.
My space to stop for a moment - to find that missing piece of my heart. Birds come drawn to this oasis to feed on the nuts and seeds I provide. A family of blue tit playful, darting from branch to branch, swinging from the very tips of the finest twig. A wren flits from bush, to tree trunk, blackbirds fight over territory and females. A dunnock scouts the ground for dropped seeds, and my hearts love, the robin, a gardener’s friend who visits me daily.
Early morning. Space before the day starts. A moment to stop and watch my birds.
Today, silence. No movement in my garden. The tree is empty. Why?
In the corner a figure looms. A sparrowhawk. My heart stops. Excitement as I watch this immaculate hunter, a small bird in its beak. Plucked feathers flying; a meal torn apart into several tasty morsels. He surveys with wary eye: Does he know he is being watched?
Now I sit at the window waiting: When will my little birds return?
I wonder how long it will be.
Only the big fat wood pigeon, big and brave enough to visit, gorges on my now plentiful offerings.
All media created by archive.org, used under copyright licence.