September Morn-A A +A
By Ram Mercado
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
ON OR about the 10th of September each year, a riot of love calls by migrant birds called "tarat" in the dialect never fail to wake me up in early sunrise.
The certain arrival of the shrikes on this feast day of San Nicolas de Tolentino is a source of fascination even during my boyhood days in the old hometown. Today the coming of the birds in old age is a wellspring of childish wonder.
Two weeks ago, the loud twitter of shrikes from tree branches beyond my bedroom window reminded me that it was the feast day of San Nicholas, a fiesta celebration in all villages and towns called by that name.
The homecoming of the Philippine tarat in September has the equivalent event of cliff swallows in southern California that return from their winter sojourn in South America. The birds always land in the Mission of San Juan Capistrano on the Feast Day of St. Joseph (Mar. 19). On this day the ringing of the Mission bells and rejoicing crowds welcome the swallows’ arrival -- as a swirling cloud of birds descends -- on the old ruined church.
On the same month every year, thousands of migratory birds land at the swamplands of Candaba (Pampanga). Their arrival is celebrated as a tourist event. It is the preciseness of their flight that makes their coming a spectacle.
We do not know the reasons why the shrikes sing their love songs each 10th day of September, or the swallows come back to Capistrano on St. Joseph’s day. Neither can we hazard a guess on the magical precision of the migratory birds in Candaba.
I do not know the place-origin of the tarat birds that we hear in September. But I am sure that the early morning warbler by my window, wherever it came, is equipped with a built-in radar that kept it on its course through its long travel to my place.
Does the bird, like those of San Juan Capistrano and those in Candaba have an unerring directional instrument, a map of the heavens, a calendar of all the seasons -- in autumn, winter, summer, spring -- that enables it to reach its destination and on the target occasion?
I can only surmise that a Creator - a master planner - has done wonders on the migratory shrike, as he has done a perfect job on all creatures great and small, including you and I.
Those of us who refuse to acknowledge God’s omnipotence as revealed by his creations can find wisdom in the Creator who infused instinct “into otherwise helpless little creatures” such as the tarat bird that manifests His Greatness by singing me a bird’s love call on a September morn.
Every little deed of kindness you do
and every little word of love you say
bring not a little but a great joy to many.
Spend this day giving great joys.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on October 02, 2013.