An Epoch Weekend of Independence and The Magpie
Copyright © 2011
Another July 02, 2011 to be remembered. Not only because it is the beginning of an Independence Day weekend celebrated in my birth place, the United States of America. Where on July 04, 1776 , it is a federal holiday declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day is the national day of the Unites States of America.
As I sat on our patio with my husband, Albert, over looking our newly cultivated garden of vegetables and flowers my thoughts were pleasantly awakened as he asked if I had seen the bird? This bird was a Magpie. Named also the same as our adjourning courtyard street. Magpies are believed to be one of the most intelligent of all animals: the European Magpie is one of the few animal species known to be able to recognize itself in a mirror test.
Maybe on that very day, on July 02, 1776, two hundred and thirty five years ago, as the second president of the United Sates of America, John Adams, a highly intelligent prominent lawyer and a leading champion of independence had written to his wife Abigail, he too was in a moment such as this as he wrote:
“ The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more. ”
History reflect Adams’s prediction was off by two days. From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress.
Another history was being made as we had never before witnessed a magpie come in our midst as this one did. I just seem to have come down from out of no where and landed on the top of our garden shrubbery as if it was seeking refuge? Within moments while still looking at both me and my husband it intelligently moved and flew to another tree limb.
As we continued to sit, read and enjoy the evening it continued to sit and watch us. Not knowing if it would stay but noticing a slight slowness in it’s movement and wondering if it had been wounded or even pregnant, we immediately thought on it’s journey it must be hungry? As we proceeded to walk and get water and some bread crumbs it’s eye were patiently watching. We placed them down in front of an area of the shrubbery that could be perceived as a large open weaved tree nest so it could fly down and get it.
Later that evening we looked and saw the Magpie had left the area next to our shrubbery as well as all the water and food. Somehow it was now back on it’s journey and we both felt better knowing it had eaten. The evening went on and all the next morning, which was Sunday and there were no signs of the Magpie?
Yet later toward the evening hours my husband, once again noticed sitting on the ground across in a patch of sunlight and under our large courtyard tree was our Magpie. There was no movement in the courtyard as the Magpie sat quietly. Our concern was not on where it had been or how it had got back but on what could now happen to it , if it was indeed wounded and couldn’t fly.
But once again the Magpie with all it’s intellect had managed to come back where it could find love, comfort and refuge and then be on it’s way. It somehow on this Independence Weekend had not allowed anything to stops it’s journey but if anything had declared it’s independence. It had come and gone with the beauty that we all have. It had brought with it those few moments a pleasantness that made us grateful to have been able to behold. We do not know if we will ever see the Magpie again but we do know it has left a lasting memory as it continues it’s journey this Independence weekend. It is today the 4th of July and we have not seen the Magpie all day. It is on it’s journey and we are here if it returns. We wish it well.
Maybe our celebration of this Independence Day wasn’t at that moment as John Adams had written to his wife Abigail on precisely those very moments two hundred thirty five years ago in America with all the pomp and parades , etc but nevertheless it was still ever so dynamic. Maybe being American but now living in Great Britain, being married to a wonderful British man that I love dearly made a difference. Maybe knowing that my Independence has and will always be special , and that just as the Magpie who on it’s journey found love, comfort and refuge, so have I. All I know is that now I love the country I was born in and I love the country I am now living in. What a great sense of Independence.
Maier, Pauline (August 7, 1997). “Making Sense of the Fourth of July”. American Heritage. http://www.america.gov/st/pubs-english/1997/August/20050606131757pssnikwad0.3779871.html. Retrieved June 28, 2009.