As a psychologist I find coincidences strangely intriguing. Since I started writing this blog they seem to happening regularly. Take the sparrowhawks for example; or the time I mused about never having seen a long-tailed tit and then saw a whole flock of them the very next day.
My last post was about the kites that I watched in Hong Kong last week (the birds of prey, not the flying toys). This morning I received an e-mail from my wife saying that she had seen an unusual bird of prey as she drove to work. Now, my wife is no twitcher, but she knows the birds and animals of the area pretty well, and she certainly knows something new when she sees it. She described the bird as being the same size as a buzzard, feeding on a dead pheasant by the roadside and, crucially, having a forked tail.
There’s no doubt about it, this was a Red Kite – the forked tail clinches it. Red Kites are not unknown in Bedfordshire, according to the Bedfordshire Bird Report 2007, but they aren’t common either. They are outliers of the large population in the Chilterns. Put it another way, I’ve never seen one, and I look out for these things.
To see a Red Kite in our area is thus a fairly rare and improbable event. So, what are the chances of one appearing literally at the end of my road, just at the same time that I’m writing about them?
Carl Jung, the famous (and slightly mad) psychologist saw coincidences such as this as evidence of synchronicity – a meaningful relationship that reveals hidden aspects of reality and illustrates the working of the collective unconscious – the cosmic governing intelligence that connects all things.
More prosaically, it could just be one of those things. I’ve wrote about quite a few things on here, and only a very small number happen the next day. I still haven’t got a good look at a stoat, for instance, despite really looking. What might be happening is that I pay more attention to those events that do coincide, and give them more significance because they are unusual.
Was the Red Kite some sort of cosmic messenger offering dark hints about the mysteries of the universe? Am I in some way summoning birds and animals with the power of my thoughts? Was it just a random thing – no explanation, and no point looking for one? Or am I still a bit jet-lagged, and should I settle down and stop thinking about these things?
Whatever it is, one thing’s for sure. I’m going to get out at the weekend and see if I can track down the kite. They’re wonderful birds and it would be great to have them living locally.
And don’t worry, give me a few more good nights’ sleep and I’ll stop this esoteric rambling. There’ll be more badgers soon, I promise!