Friday, July 18, 2014

Goodbye Birdies

They’re gone! Flown the coop. Vacated. The whole family! In one day they moved out of the birdhouse, lock, stock, and barrel. Totally and completely gone. We were so busy that day we missed their departure. And when we realized, it was a Blue day.

We had noted that one (or one at a time) of the little birds where practically hanging out the door for a while. This was much like what there mother used to do when she was nesting. But even though they were up, visible, and looking at the world outside, mother bird was still coming back and forth with food for them. We thought they were adventurous little ones, perhaps getting ready to fledge. I guess they were. I guess they did.

We’ll miss the little family. Watching them go through the stages of bird life was fun. It’s strange to me how birds can have a nice cozy home, and then vacate it as soon as the little ones fledge and leave. Camping out in trees or bushes must be more appealing to them. I’m spoiled; I’d take the cozy house any day.

A few other species of birds have stopped on the birdhouse stoop to peek in. But then they fly away. They aren’t interested in a once used home. (I have to say our bird neighbors left quite a mess!) The birdhouse swings in the summer breeze, quiet and empty of life. We’ll take it down soon.

Our plan is to clean out the birdhouse and paint it. There’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint to spruce up a home. We’ll have the little house all ready for next spring. Perhaps then a new family will move in. We’d love to welcome some new feathered neighbors.

The Bible tells of a religious man who knew God had said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” So the man asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus told the story of the good Samaritan and then answered the man’s question. “The one who showed him mercy.” (Luke 10:25-37) 
I hope we’ve been good and merciful neighbors to our little bird friends.

“Mercy”…It’s a word with many facets. What would showing mercy to neighbors mean for you?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Hungry Babies

Mouths open wide, two baby birds sit at the birdhouse door. They’ve seen their mama coming with something good to eat, a juicy worm or delicious bug. These little ones are growing bigger and stronger. I’ve found that hungry little birds can raise a noisy ruckus, just as their human counterparts when they are hungry. I’m so happy they’re alive and thriving.

My heart jumps at the thrill of seeing them in action. I wish my camera shudder moved as quickly as my heart. Its slight delay causes me to miss the snapshot I’d hoped for. Food is transferred from mother to babies—so quick.

Nevertheless, I can watch. Those two baby birds returned to their nest made it through their trauma and are doing well. The bird family is intact and busy. My feet do a little happy dance while my face breaks into a broad grin. Life! It brings such joy. (See past blog for the trauma story.)

Watching this little bird family causes me to hark back to days with my grandparents. Grandpa was special, but he was elderly. His energy level was not that of a younger man. He kept as active as he could. But each afternoon he’d lie on the living room couch in front of the big picture window and watch life on the street. He saw neighborhood children at play, an occasional pet, the twitter of birds, all the general comings and goings of people and creatures doing what they do within his view. Life pulsating.

Sometimes we cannot participate in what is going on around us, or just don’t have the strength to do so—especially as age overtakes. Yet watching life hum on around us helps. Even as an observer, we are part of it. We can enter into the emotions of life, enjoy it, and learn from it.

The bird family outside my kitchen window warms my heart as I observe their antics. They fill me with awe. I’m certainly not part of the bird community, yet I enter in as an observer. They’ve taught me what it is like to be a bird—sort of—to live outside where predators lurk, and where the need for vigilance is paramount to survival. They’ve shown me that God has made ways for them to “live off the land” and yet do no preparatory work. They’ve taught me about faithful commitment to one another in a family…even when life gets tough.

Life! It is simply a wonderful gift from God.

Jesus said, “…I came that they might have life, and that they might have it abundantly.” John 10:10b