Two red kites, among the most protected birds in Wales, are flying high above me as I write, soaring and gliding among the thermal winds of an autumnal windy day. They are graceful and serene, always above the fray.
They descend to land only for food or to gather sticks and wool for their nests in early spring, otherwise their time is spent in high trees or remote cliffs, or in the air sometimes so high up they are almost invisible. They have keen vision, and even from a place of invisibility they look down upon the earth and the people beneath with total clarity and without fear. Many, many times I have found myself under observation from a magnificent creature that was surveying me, a speck on the ground, with curiosity and perhaps pity for my human restrictions and limitations compared to it.
There is much "fray" around at the moment as controversy rages over money, rights, entitlements, fairness, reform, personal security, and corruption in sport and elsewhere. If we looked down on what is happening in the world like the red kite, how would it appear? I suspect it would not look edifying - humans arguing over money, celebrity gossip and personal comfort without looking, often, at the bigger picture with its opportunities for contentment and growth in the world community.
Birds, like all animals when allowed, take responsibility for their survival and well-being and for that of their families. It is a wonderful sight to witness a kite tenderly sharing its food with its mate and chick. Through, no doubt, good but misguided intent, in the UK at least a dependency culture has grown up whereby a significant number of citizens have forgotten how to look after themselves but rely on the state for everything. Some people who are ill, old, disabled or deprived need and deserve help, but there are others who do not, or who have forgotten about giving back, sharing, and contributing themselves to their welfare or that of their local family particularly when they themselves may have been helped.
As the political and economic debate rages in the UK today following the Chancellor's announcements of cuts and change yesterday, along with speculation over the future of Wayne Rooney and the next World Cup, it helps to take a bird's eye view and see what is really happening on the ground. Birds observe and do not judge, and from what they see, they learn. There is judgment and illusion in abundance on the ground in the UK and more widely, today. How much discernment and learning is there also, I wonder?