From whence comes Joy?
I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy. Tagore
The Sparrow Family had bathed in the sandy dust of a hot summer’s afternoon and now, wings spread wide to trap the cooling air, sat close to their nests in the shrubs beside the iron railings. The Patriarch, while pretending to sleep, was keeping a sharp bright eye on his extended family.
“What in the name of Rhiannon is that boy doing?” he demanded.
“Who, Papa? Oh him! it’s Eldest Son.” said Eldest Daughter. “He’s making a chart showing his evolution from some flying monster who disappeared a million years ago.”
“Why’s he doing that?” the Pariarch asked.
“Search me” said Eldest Daughter.
“I know,” cheeped a Grandson, who was dissecting a particularly succulent worm, “it’s Science.”
“It’s boring.” said his fluffy big sister. “He’s stopped singing, he’s stopped teasing Seagulls, and he hasn’t time any more to visit the Venerable Old Bird in his evening nest of a thousand sky blue flowers.”
“True,” said a Cousin, “but he’s really devoted to this Evolution thing. He says it’s ‘Logically beautiful’ and ‘The intellectual Key to the mystery of our being.’ Very posh.”
“But does he find any joy in it?” asked the Matriarch.
“Not joy, perhaps,” said the Cousin, “but lots of satisfaction from the patterns he’s found in his chart. He says the answer to the whole enigma of life is there - who are we, what are we, and why are we.”
“Maybe.” said the Matriarch. “But we need nectar for the soul as well as grist for the mind.”
She fluttered across the grass to where her Eldest Son huddled over his extraordinary Chart.
“May I see?” she said. Eldest Son looked up amazed.
“Do you really want to look at this ‘boring old thing’?”
“Yes I do, because it matters to you.” She stared wide eyed at the Chart, and then said
“I wonder if you can look up at Science and say: ‘You are the delight of my heart, my consolation in sorrow, a light that guides me through the dark of the storm. You shelter me from the fierce heat of Summer, and in Autumn you share with me the bounty of the harvest. You warm me through the bitter days of Winter, and in Springtime you invite me into the Circle of Life which is a dance eternal.' "
Eldest Son shrugged. “No, not really.” he said. “When I look at Evolution, I begin to find answers to my questions about real life - about yesterday, today and even tomorrow. There are a thousand questions still unasked, and I shall never find answers to most of them, but I cannot stop looking. Something drives me on, but I can’t tell you what. I don’t look into the heart of your Holy One, whom I have yet to meet. I’m not a poet like you Mama.”
The Matriarch chuckled. “No poet. Just a plump old bird in a faded old motley brown coat, who has caught a glimpse of the Divine One mirrored in the fiery face of the Sun and the sweet silvered features of the moon. He is both the source and the end of my being.” She smiled at Eldest Son “Between us, you and me united, together we might one day bring a little extra Joy to the world.”