"Coaching Moments" takes a
thoughtful look at how coaching
can be interwoven into our daily lives.
Birds, bees and blogging
by Janice Hunter, IAC-CC
Before I created my blog, I was a hermit bee, living, not in a hive, but in
my own cosy wee writing cave, emerging to buzz away happily in other people’s
blogs, reading, writing guest posts and cross-pollinating for pleasure in their
comment boxes. All the writing honey from my life and my daily detail loving
was saved for this column. For you.
When I wasn’t writing, every moment was a chance to gather nectar, the
essence of moments spent in my home and garden.
I spent more time watching the birds outside my kitchen window, nature’s
bloggers, living and foraging side by side: blue tits and chaffinches sharing
the bird feeder happily; gangs of starlings swooping in and squawking loudly,
chasing off other birds and swiping all the berry-filled fat, leaving nothing
for the smaller birds; dunnocks hopping about in the bushes, silently feeding
on the scraps left after the flapping frays, and the serene robin, sure of his
territory, sitting on my fence, bobbing his head three times, choot choot choot,
doing his business, planting the seeds of trees and bushes that will shelter
his offspring someday.
March came and went in a flurry of blog-building, jury duty, illness, kids’
activities and shopping for my eighty-five-year-old dad. I missed birthdays
and deadlines, unaware that the weeks were flying by.
April and May settled into routines of burned meals, overflowing ironing baskets
and piles of dirty washing.
Wet clothes were eventually dragged unceremoniously from the washing machine
and dumped into the dryer. I no longer stuck my face into piles of damp line-dried
laundry smelling of flowers and fresh air.
It reminded me of the first time I went for Step 2 of the IAC exam, obsessed
and blinkered, neglecting all the other areas of my life. It came as no surprise
that I failed first time.
But still I blogged, driven by the urge to create a community, to do something
with my writing, to reach out beyond my garden and share more of myself.
I kept thinking I’d settle into a blogging routine, but never for one
moment did I realise that I was becoming worn out and weary right at the start
of my journey, a journey I’d hoped to savour and share with all kinds
of travelling companions for years to come.
My husband had a day off work last week and we planned to catch up on some
neglected gardening. He went to run a bath in the family bathroom after the
kids went to school and I found myself heading furtively towards the laptop,
thinking I’d just do a quick ten minutes, when suddenly he bounded into
“You’ll never guess what we’ve got on the window ledge outside
“A nest! With eggs! Four eggs!”
He sounded just like our young son.
We both crept to the back door like a couple of teenagers getting home late,
wondering what lunacy had possessed a bird to build a nest next to our garden
path, outside a family bathroom where our kids squabble loudly about everything
from toilet paper to toothpaste.
We opened the heavy wooden door slowly and took a step out, as quietly as we
could. And there she was. A blackbird, with a thin, sharp yellow beak and beady
black eye. Aware of us, she didn’t move.
I sneaked in for my camera and stealthily captured the moment, scared that
if we stood staring too long in awe at the magic of this little scene, that
she’d get spooked and fly off.
The kids came home from school and couldn’t believe it, smiles wild and
full of wonder.
That evening, while they were out with my husband, I started to worry. What
if the wind blew the nest off the ledge, if cats came prowling, if a sudden
noise from inside the bathroom spooked her. I felt I needed to do something,
to help in some way, so I got some bread crumbs, opened the back door and gently
scattered them on the ground in her direction. With a startled cheep and a flap,
she flew off.
Horrified, I closed the door and stood, cursing myself for interfering, for
having my own agenda, for doing too much and not letting things take their natural
For hours I was too scared to look. My husband and kids came home, asking if
she was still there.
“I scared her off,” I said, sadly. “I tried to feed her.”
“She’ll be back,” said my daughter. “She did choose
“Yes,” said my son. “It’s a good place. Sheltered,
and bricks absorb heat. She’s clever. She’ll be back. She knows
we wouldn’t hurt her.”
I couldn’t bear to look. The hours passed and I couldn’t settle
to anything. All I could think about were the little eggs, neglected, getting
cold, because I’d overdone it. As usual.
My husband came into the living room smiling.
“She’s back. And there’s this little pile of crumbs next
to her. It looks like she’s tried to spell out thanks.”
I threw a cushion at him as the kids teased me, asking if we should put worms
on the shopping list and start a university fund.
I gently opened our back door and looked towards the bathroom ledge. As she
sat there, her brown feathered body filling out the nest, she turned to me and
fixed me with a beady eye. I pulled the back door shut, ever so quietly, and
came back inside, smiling, trusting that everything would be OK. Sometimes,
we just need to sit still and do nothing but be.
The dad arrived on the scene and did a brilliant job. We watched the eggs grow
into four healthy chicks.
Janice Hunter is an IAC certified homelife coach who lives in Scotland with
her husband and two children. She created and co-wrote Sharing the Certification
Journey: Six IAC Coaches Talk About Their Journeys, and her blogsite,
provides soul food and support for coaches, writers, parents and home-based
Janice has compiled all of her Coaching Moments pieces from the last two years
into a free 46-page ebook, 'Coaching Moments: a Collection of Articles about
Coaching in Everyday Life' which can be downloaded here
or from her site.