Last weekend the Chastney family joined with the family of friends for a picnic at a nature resave that’s recently opened near our home.
We set off through some woods, across some grasslands and around some ponds. We stood for a while as a Skylark sang to us from a dizzy height. We then took a path down towards the river Ribble. It was a scorching hot day (for England) so we meandered along the river until we came to a point where we could get down to the water. Paddling and skimming followed – then into the middle of the fun someone shouted out “Kingfisher”.
This single word turned our afternoon into a whole different experience.
Eyes immediately scanned the line of the river in expectation of a blue flash. Adults and children alike were transfixed. Like Meerkats looking for danger we were all alert and focussed in the same direction.
I’ve only ever seen Kingfisher as a flash of colour coming into view and leaving just as quickly.
What we experienced that day was much more than that.
There were a pair of Kingfisher who flew from tree to tree along the opposite riverbank. They sat in full view on perches as they scanned the water below for potential food. We even watched them diving into the water and retrieving fish glistening silver in the sun.
The two pairs of binoculars that we had with us were passed up and down the line as together we tried to make sure that we didn’t loose the objects of our focus amongst the foliage.
As we stood there on the riverbank others came to ask us what we’d seen and the sharing broadened.
There are all sorts of events in my life that I treasure but I’m struggling to remember any that I experienced alone. All of the best experiences have been shared experiences and the very best have been experienced with those that I love.
In the Bible the book of Acts tells of the events that happened during the early days of the church. In the middle of this book is a definition of togetherness and community that most people would regard as an ideal:
The whole congregation of believers was united as one—one heart, one mind! They didn’t even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, "That’s mine; you can’t have it." They shared everything.
Shared experiences give a glimpse of why we are built for community and not for isolation.
(No pictures I’m afraid, my camera battery was dead. Emily took some wonderful pictures, but she hasn’t posted them yet)
(Update: I did have a picture, but from a previous visit.)