I write this listening to a blackbird sing outside my living room window. It has been the soundtrack to most of my mornings during the last four months. The greater opportunity to hear birdsong has been a totally unambiguous pleasure of lockdown. And it’s not just been the friendly local blackbird. Imagine my surprise when, in late April, I woke late one night to hear an owl, presumably hunting on the nearby heath. It was something I’d never thought I’d hear an urban setting and took me straight back to summer evenings on the farm where I grew up in Cornwall. I had no idea such wonders were within listening distance: they are normally drowned out by sirens from the nearby fire station or the relentless traffic on the A505.

Reflecting on other voices normally stifled by everyday life, I found my mind turning to those who are unable to come to church in person but found themselves able to access worship online at this time. What a blessing that they are able to join our community and not one that could have been predicted at the start of the year. It left me wondering what other joys await if we only give them chance to come to the fore?

I pray that we continue to make space for quieter voices as lockdown eases further. I’m certainly going to head out for an early-morning walk in the woods to listen to the birds while I still have the chance.


Frances Stratton