Nature’s Hymn – Birdsong

Easter Dawn 1916

Easter Dawn. I am with you alway[s]. At our Easter communion we are praying from you. From All Saints’ Clapham Park SW. F. Beaumont-Edwards, Easter 1916. From us all”

Dawn of a New Day

With each new day there is a chorus of birds chirping and flitting about from one branch to another announcing the dawn. Content to rejoice as the sun shines upon their places, bringing them warmth, my slightly weary eyes open one at a time. It is dawn, a new beginning.

I enjoy the sound of our feathered friends. Their work, as heralds, never disappoints me. And so as the dawn of Easter approaches it is a good time to think upon their work – how the song of birds…birdsong afar…in France, Flanders and elsewhere has and continues to be nature’s hymn amidst and after the tumult of war.

…and in the sky…The larks, still bravely singing, fly…Scarce heard amidst the guns below.

(John McCrae, In Flanders Fields, published December 8, 1915)

When I go to a Commonwealth War Graves cemetery…it is like walking into a very beautiful church and you have to be silent…there is usually no music except birdsong and it’s a time for reflection.

(Michael Morpurgo. Silent Witnesses, The Cemeteries of the Somme, CWGC, 2016)

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Nature’s hymn, the song of birds adds the soundtrack to our wanderings of these silent cities. These guardians announce themselves upon our arrival and continue their song, without audience, upon our leaving. Within their realm we see new life reborn, nature’s cycle of gentle green grass, the colour of flowers and the weeping of trees tending these gardens of souls whose shortened lives knew their song.


About The Author

pferguson
In April 2007 Paul met Casey and Ian Williams of the Paradigm Motion Picture Company in Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul has worked with Paradigm since 2009 as Producer and Historian. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was amazed by films such as David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Film captivated Paul and he became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and he became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was entranced when he discovered Weir had visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. The film "Gallipoli" alone led Paul on his many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii and Gallipoli. It was, however, when Paul watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", that Paul understood how his experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests would be a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of the successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, he believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.

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