I was just sitting by the window with my laptop when a female blackbird landed on the fence outside.
Looking for beauty, I paused to watch her. She is such a plain creature and so common in these parts, but taking the time to really see her revealed her beauty. She cocked her head, assessing her surroundings with a keen eye. She nimbly negotiated the iron fence upon which she balanced.
Female blackbirds have always given me pause for thought because their name is so incongruous: they are not black. I have always felt a slight unease to hear myself say of a brown bird: "Look, it's a blackbird." Something's not right there.
This time as I contemplated her browness - a deliberate contemplation - I realised there is a beauty in her difference from the male. She is like him, but she is different. It is as though she is gently defying her own name, the label given her.
"Yes, I'm a blackbird," she says, "but don't think that means I am what you think. Don't think I am like my brother, or my mate. I am female with all the difference that brings. You think being brown makes me plain, but no. Being brown makes me who I am."
We women are the same, although not plain (we are blessed with the beauty of our species!). We are like our brothers, our mates, but we are different. Genesis 2 tells the story of how Eve was created from the rib of Adam. Like the man, but different. Of the same stuff, but uniquely herself. Such is (wo)man.
Some strands of feminism tried to make women the same as men. We've grown up a lot since then. We don't have to be the same to find our value. Our worth lies in our difference in the context of similarity.
This isn't new; like me you know it already. But never before have I seen this truth in the female blackbird's brown plumage. Because of it I will love her more.
Incidently, this reminds me of something that may help any of you who may feel more plain than beautiful.
In the children's picture book by Mick Inkpen called The Great Pet Sale there is a box of "assorted little brown creatures" at the pet shop.
"Boring! Boring! Boring!" says the rat who wants to be bought instead.
But here's a word from me to you: the rat is wrong!
Even if we don't have knock-me-down gorgeous good looks (and let's face it not all of us do), the female blackbird teaches us one thing for sure:
Little brown creatures are not boring! They are different and wonderful!
female blackbird picture credit: Roguey000