this is lemonade

A mindful, grateful, creative life: Life constantly hurls lemons at us. I’m on a mission to make lemonade as best I can, by God’s grace.


RIP Robin Redbreast

The robin is apparently Britain’s favourite bird. This sprightly little creature with its iconic bright, cheerful red breast is an uplifting sight particularly in our typically dreary weather.

Robin Redbreast - Lincoln Inn Fields Park - Holborn, London | Keven Law

Photography by Keven Law from Los Angeles, USA [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The closest I’ve come to a robin before today, was really quite close. Whilst I was pulling out weeds in the garden during a past, seemingly distant summer, one hopped right up at about 2ft away. I could not believe it was so close. The robin is not a timid bird, not our urban ones anyway. I remember stopping what I was doing in wonder, and staying very still so that I could observe it.

Sometimes, on a down day, the D.H. Lawrence poem, Self-Pity, comes to mind. I am often challenged by our frail, feathered friends and how enthusiastically they go about their daily business for the short time that they are on earth.

I never saw a wild thing
sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.

Last night, I found a lot of tiny feathers and dust in my bathroom. They seemed to have emanated from the extractor fan. I cleared everything up hoping that I would not find any more in the morning. I didn’t. The builder currently fixing up some bits and pieces in my home at the moment, kindly offered to take the vent cover off from the outside, to see what was in the flue. We found a beautiful, lifeless, yet peaceful-looking robin. I have never held such a delicate bird before. Despite having shed a lot of feathers, presumably in a bid to get out of the vent, it did not resemble the mangled mess we had envisaged at all. It was the most beautiful, immaculate thing – as though it had just dropped dead without having struggled at all.

Holding this near-weightless creature in my hand, a sombre feeling came over me. I was filled with a sense of awe and reverence. I felt sorry that it had somehow managed to get in and become trapped and was thankful that the bathroom fan is out of order at the moment. I was also thankful that we had found it before the flies got to it… The circle of life. A funny thing. Awe-inspiring and awful all at once.




For some time now, I have been a quiet admirer of a certain man. He was never a friend, in fact he was a business owner and I was a regular patron. Unlike many of his peers, he seemed to make a conscious effort to connect meaningfully with the people who contributed to his success – his loyal customers. I admired his skill in conversation and the thoughtfulness he put into building relationships, the confidence his staff had in him and the ease with which they worked in his presence. Yes, it was business, but infused with a certain unassuming altruism.

Yesterday I learned of his passing. I knew that he was seriously ill, so I can’t say the news came as a shock. But I was surprised that it affected me so much and that I am so deeply saddened. He was far from old. In my memory he is wearing a favourite blue checked shirt, his eyes are creased at the laughter lines with just a little twinkle in them and he is engaged in lively small talk. I remember his mannerisms and voice well, even though I did not see him in over a year. We only ever had brief encounters, but this one human being made a deep impression on me.

DandelionsWe only live once. We cross paths with many people only once in our lives and for a fleeting moment. And yet, we have the potential to influence greatly, without even being aware of it ourselves. I do not believe this man ever cared to think that I would sit here thinking of him. We played no real part in each other’s lives.

But then I think of the countless times when a small kind gesture has suddenly altered how I have felt in an instant. And a simple word of appreciation or a colleague’s offer to make me a cup of tea, can often be enough to give me just that added buoyancy to make it through the day.

So in the same vein, thank you for those kind comments that you put at the bottom of my posts. They are very special and uplifting. Just as deeply as words can wound, so they can also heal, inspire and propel someone on to do more than they ever imagined possible…

Has a virtual stranger ever had such an impact on you?