Circle of Friends Week 4 – something unique

Circle of Friends may 2016

This week’s theme –Something unique

Last week we put our collective heads around the thorny issue of gifting. The theme has resonated strongly with many people. And brought up some really interesting stories. It has also raised a lot of questions about friendships for me. Ones that I thought would be interesting to delve into here through the Circle of Friends. I guess like most things, if you start to scratch beneath the surface, it’s amazing what emerges.

This week’s theme invites you to share your most unique experience of friendship. What moment, memory, experience, person comes to mind?

black swans

As I was preparing for this the first thing that popped into my head was black swans. Yes indeed! When I was still working, out and about on community visits, I sometimes went to a quiet park by a flowing creek in the middle of the CBD to eat my lunch. I carried a small ziplock bag of wild bird seed with me for just  these occasions.

It was a beautiful, sunny day. Having parked the car in a shady spot, I walked down hill to the sheltered park. I’d been there many times before. Sitting at my favourite picnic table under a giant old gum tree, I opened my book and munched on the sandwich I had just bought at the local shop. Wild ducks, willy wagtails, honey eaters and other birds curiously watched, waiting for crumbs to fall. They were used to folk feeding them. I tossed them a few seeds. This of course came to the attention of the ducks paddling in the creek. Waddling up the bank, they warily approached me, dashed in quickly to grab a bite before heading off to safety to gulp it down before some greedy neighbour snapped it out of their beaks. I had a habit of talking to them. Like children, I would scold the greedy ones and tell them to play nicely and share. And of course I would always throw a handful to the shy, retiring ones that seemed to miss out. Except when I was around! I made sure they got their fair share.

I had noticed some black swans gracefully sailing in the distance too. Unusual, I thought, for swans to be here. It was not long before the swans got curious as well. They swam to shore and climbed on land. More and more of them appeared.  Tranquil and serene, the stillness became something even more extraordinary.  Forming a semicircle not five feet in front of me the swans were joined by the ducks and smaller birds. There must have been 30 or more of them. An amphitheatre of black swans and birds were paying me homage as if I were royalty. It was magical. I scarce dared to breathe for fear of disturbing the moment. How long it lasted I couldn’t tell you. Eventually, I slowly retrieved the bag of birdseed. Scattering it on the ground close to me, the birds calmly came and pecked away. Some of the swans, however, came one by one, stood right next to me and fed from the table top.

I have never before, or since, experienced such purity of enchantment and delight.  A unique moment of friendship and connection I will never forget.

This week’s warm up:

To get those creative juices flowing, I leave you with this beautiful poem from one of my favourite authors, the eloquent Celtic Priest, poet and philosopher, John O’Donohue. While you read it, you might like to have this soul stirring music playing in the background.     Jean Sibelius: Finlandia


I give you an emptiness,

I give you a plenitude,

unwrap them carefully –

one’s as fragile as the other –

and when you thank me

I’ll pretend not to notice the doubt in your voice

when you say they’re just what you wanted.

      Put them on the table by your bed.

When you wake in the morning

they’ll have gone through the door of sleep

into your head. Wherever you go

they’ll go with you and

wherever you are you’ll wonder,

smiling about the fullness

you can’t add to and the emptiness

that you can fill.

John O’Donohue, Anam Cara


If participating please add link to this post and  tag  – circle of friends.

Thank you.

New to THE  CIRCLE of FRIENDS month of May here at Soul Gifts – Telling Tales?

Here’s how it works. Every Sunday of May I will publish a CIRCLE of FRIENDS topic for the week. You are invited to interpret it in any way you like – a story, a poem, a photograph, a quote, a recipe… there is no limit to how friendships are made, nurtured and rekindled. Post your contribution to your own blog with a link to the Circle of Friends.  Every Saturday I will magically pull it all together into a post so everyone can enjoy what has been shared. Here they are –  Week 1        Week 2          Week 3

Not a blogger? Doesn’t matter! You can still take part by emailing me at , commenting at the end of the post , on LinkedIn  or my  Facebook page.

Take part in as many or as few as you like. The topics I suggest are just that – suggestions. You may have something else in mind entirely. That’s fine too.  Or you may want to visit week 1 in week 4. That’s OK too.

© Raili Tanska

10 thoughts on “Circle of Friends Week 4 – something unique

  1. That was a lovely story about the birds. I won’t be contributing to the circle, because I have my work cut out keeping up as it is. But I will be reading. Thank you for the initiative

    1. Thank you Derrick, for reading and commenting. I absolutely understand, blogging can be very time consuming ! I sometimes add comments to the nutshell summary for their relevance to the theme, and also as a way of supporting fellow bloggers 🙂

  2. “Finlandia” is one of my favorite classical pieces. And, of course, “Be Still My Soul” (one of my top five favorite hymns) is based on Sibelius’ music.

    1. His music is soul stirring. It gets played on the classical radio station here a lot. Helsinki has erected an exquisite sculpture in his honour. He’s probably one of Finland’s better known famous people.

Your thoughts ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s