Wednesday, September 01, 2010

HOUSE SPARROW: Mirroring the Soul


True Sparrows (Passer) are seed-eaters who prefer eating the seeds from cereals and rice. The best-known of Birds, Old World Sparrows are rarely found away from people. Meanwhile, Snowfinches live near the snowlines or just above them. Skiers often see Them feeding around the slopes, eating the food that people drop by accident.

HOUSE SPARROW: Mirroring the Soul

As one of the most widespread Birds in the world, House Sparrow is familiar to many people. Rarely found away from human settlements, He happily lives on scraps and bread dropped by forgetful people. In Eurasia, House Sparrow followed humans as they moved their farms and villages. Elsewhere in the world, people deliberately introduced Him, in various places for a variety of reasons. Now House Sparrow is virtually found everywhere. Ironically, He is becoming scarce in Europe where He first originated.

This wary but bold Bird is able to exploit humans and their activities to meet his needs. First, House Sparrow ate the grain left in farm fields, and later spilt on stable floors in cities. Now, He feeds on food dropped outside fast food restaurants. One House Sparrow was recorded tripping the electric eye on the doors to a supermarket. He would enter, take his food, and leave. Meanwhile, other House Sparrows will use man-made structures to nest in.

In ancient times, people regarded House Sparrow to be a friendly spirit of their home. In Rome, He was consecrated to the Penates (the Keepers of the Household Stores). For the early Christians, House Sparrow was among the least of God’s creatures.

In addition, Christians had other positive associations with House Sparrow. Some early Christians would decorate their tombs with House Sparrow escaping from a cage. This represented the soul freed to fly to Heaven. A lone House Sparrow on a roof depicted Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. (House Sparrows are usually always found in large flocks.)

In contrast, (House) Sparrow Wars raged in North America, beginning in Boston in the late 1800s. By then, House Sparrow was such a pest, that people wanted to get rid of Him. Even today, House Sparrow elicits strong feelings in people, who still debate his continued existence in places where He is not wanted. Moreover, bird watchers zealously protect their native Birds from invasions from House Sparrow.

House Sparrow is the mirror of our souls. Neither good nor evil, He elicits both of these emotions in us. House Sparrow did not ask to be a pest. However, we introduced Him to places where He was not meant to be. We can choose to think of House Sparrow as friendly spirit if we prefer to. He is what He is, what changes is how we view Him.

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