Wednesday, August 29, 2018

HAND STORIES: SAINT KEVIN

                             ...now he must hold his hand
Like a branch out in the sun and rain for weeks
Until the young are hatched and fledged and flown.

                                               Seamus Heaney
                                                St Kevin and the Blackbird



St Kevin (Anglicized from Coemgen) of Glendalough is recorded as being born in 498.  His death date is listed as 618 which seems an unusually long life.
Legend has it that a white cow appeared at his parents' house every morning and evening to offer milk when he was an infant.

He lived as a hermit surrounded by animals.  His living quarters were so small that when he went to pray, palms upward, one of his hands had to stick out of his window.  One day a blackbird chose to use his hand as a nest in which to lay her eggs.  Kevin let the eggs remain there until the chicks hatched and fledged.  He was fed by birds who brought him fruit.

The hand standing in for Kevin is that of Megan Parry who has a great love and knowledge of birds.  In the summer she and her husband live very close to nature in New York state where they can hear the birds' songs and can watch their  behavior.



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