The Bowerbird

Do you know about bower birds? They are delightful creatures who get their name because the males literally create a bower for their prospective mates. They built a nest on the ground, like a tent open to one side and then they collect all the most beautiful things they can find. They collect shiny pebbles, shells flowers, leaves, even iridescent insect wings. They arrange them in a pattern around the mouth of their bowers.  The female chooses to mate with whichever mail produces the patterns she judges best and the males spend great time and effort in arranging their exhibits to best effect.

There was one bower bird who built a fine bower with a lovely exhibition of the many beautiful things he had collected. Somehow, though he found it difficult to stop. If his mates would love him for what he had collected, then surely they would love him even more if he kept on collecting. He found more and more pebbles and shells and flowers and added them to the patterns and then went out to get still more. After a while it seemed impossible to stop, but how would he ever know when the bower was special enough? In time the collection filled the whole entrance and the Lady Bird that had picked him became quite distressed.  And the collection grew higher and higher so that they began to slip and slide over one another.  But the bowerbird still could not stop building up the collections ever higher.

And then one day, the spirit of the forest spoke in the bowerbird’s heart. And he said” little one, what are you doing?” The bowerbird said.“ I’m taking things for my nest” so the spirit asked.  “And what will happen if you stop?”  And the Bird answered very quietly” I won’t have done enough.  I won’t be good enough.  No one will love me”.  And the spirit laughed gently and said” oh you have got it all wrong. You did enough a long time ago. Your Ladybird loves you for yourself not for all these pebbles and shells.  Don’t you know that nothing is more special in the universe than you are? There is a space in the universe which only you can fill without you the universe is not complete.

When the bowerbird heard these words, his heart and mind are filled with joy. He went back to his nest and looked at all these things he had collected and soon realised that having more of everything was just becoming a problem. He decided there were some things that would be helpful or just precious to him but that most of the things he had collected were of no use to him. So he chose to remove them and revealed that lovely patterns hidden by all the clutter, and then he and his mates were able to fly into the nest.

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