A Rocha Kiwis: Beulah Wood
Next in our A Rocha Kiwi series – #ARochaKiwis – featuring people of ARANZ across the country, we have Beulah Wood, another long time volunteer, time time from Auckland.
What do you do with A Rocha and how did you start getting involved?
I’m Beulah Wood and on the A Rocha Auckland Local Group Committee.
I became interested in A Rocha while I was teaching in a theological college in India. I had recently started bird-watching and a friend lent me the book by A Rocha founder, Peter Harris, Under the Bright Wings. The story was remarkable. (I visited the story-site in Portugal in 2018.) Then when A Rocha started in India, I was present for the founding meetings, and later passed them my bird-watching notes.
When and why did you become interested in conservation / caring for creation?
When I started birding, I delighted with the huge variety of land birds to see in India. I might walk for an hour and come back with jotted down descriptions of two new species, and delightedly (but incredibly slowly) finger my way through my new fat book of Indian birds for two hours, trying to find what they were. My perception of God as Creator, delighting in variety and adaptation, grew in leaps and bounds. And God had made humans stewards of his creation.
How does your faith impact your birding?
It goes both ways. Birding impacts my faith as I realise how being a Creator of such bounty and beauty is foundational to who God is. And faith impacts my birding when I realise how God must have had fun creating, and still cares about created things.
Here is a favourite birding memory:
The Paradise Flycatcher is a dimorphic Indian bird the size of a NZ Fantail Flycatcher. The female, a rich rusty colour with touches of black has a tail about 8 cm long, and the male has two colour morphs—black head with rusty mantle like the female, or white mantle and a 25cm white rolled up tail-streamer that uncoils when it flies. So pretty! ‘Paradise’ seems to suit.
I used to join Indian bird-watchers early Sunday mornings. Once when about 15 of us, Hindu, Christian and Muslim, paused with binoculars trained across a pond in a Bangalore city park, we spotted a white morph Paradise flycatcher. From a bamboo clump it flitted, ribbon tail streaming, across the pond to a leafy branch. Exquisite! We collectively, perhaps involuntarily, drew our breath, ‘Ah-h-h-h!’ Such beauty. That response thrilled me. With all our different philosophies, we recognised that loveliness in creation.