The Plight of the Nightingale
Sarah Deco transcended relocation and rail strikes to finally bring her stories of the nightingale to A Bit Crack on Friday evening.
She elegantly weaved together the stories of the nightingale’s transnational migration from sub-Saharan Africa to southern England with the tragic and wonder-filled plights of two twins separated from their mother in an Arabic fairy tale.
From this world, she told of her first hearing of the enchanting song of the nightingale, described their elaborate mating rituals and highlighted the diminishing wild spaces of England that has made nightingales increasingly rare.
From the other world, we were drawn into the tale of three poor sisters whose marital wishes were granted but, through mishap and misadventure, saw them torn and separated. It was only the Bulbul A-Siah – the nightingale that speaks – that could offer song, story and wisdom to heal old wounds and rejoin parted families.
As the stories dovetailed and ended, we were left with one final image of an oasis created atop a brick tower in the desert, offering a respite for migrating birds and, perhaps, a vision of the world where we build our structures with the rest of the world’s inhabitants in mind.
The second half of the evening opened to some of the audience’s nightingale experiences, followed by A Bit Crack’s Chris Bostock, Pat Renton and Malcolm Green sharing some avian stories of their own, including of how weeds and fire were brought into this world.
Finally, Sarah sent us to our beds with the story of the angel Lailah, the angel of conception, who guides souls down to earth and whispers all the secrets of the world to us as we are waiting to be born, only for each of us to forget.
But like stories, even if the secrets are long forgotten, the images linger on if sometimes just out of reach.