Watching and Waiting

solomon's sealI don’t know what happened.  The blue birds are gone.  There had been five eggs in the nest; now there are three.  What happened to the other two?  One day the male stands proudly on a post overlooking the nest while the female sits.  A day or two later there is no sign of them.  What happened?


I’m tempted to think it is my fault.  Every time we go out the back door we are too near the nests.  We tried to go out as little as possible.  But the dog can’t take care of business out front when there are people around.  Naturally we have a modest, distractible dog.  I have been monitoring the nests, according to nest watch guidelines, of course.  Maybe I scared it away.  I was going in and out frequently when they were building though.  And that doesn’t explain the two missing eggs.


Perhaps a snake got them.  We haven’t seen any snakes, but they are slippery, secretive things.  They don’t come out to say “hi!”  But wouldn’t it iriscome back for the remaining eggs?  Perhaps it will.  If this imaginary snake exists.  Perhaps it was something else.  I don’t know what it would be.


Meanwhile the chickadees go in and out of their nest box at a frightening clip.  They sit in a tree or bush nearby and then dart straight in.  When I’ve tapped on the box (following the nest watch guidelines, of course) I haven’t heard any sounds.  If there are babies they aren’t very loud.


I have to believe there are chicks in there.  Both adults go in and out so often.  Sometimes it looks like they might be carrying something.  When I do go out they get very excited.  Instead of flying away they sit high in the tree and scold.  I’ve heard you can tell how large the danger is by how many “dee’s” are in their warning call.  They think I am extremely dangerous.  They calm down quickly when I go away.  Would they call so loudly if they weren’t protecting something?  I don’t know.  They didn’t before the nest. I have to hope.


I’ve discovered a cardinal nest out front.  I can’t reach it and I won’t find a stool or make a mirror on a pole to try.  I’ve reported the nest.  I’ll watch the bluebelladults.  I’ll watch for fledglings.  That’s all I’ll do.  Perhaps that is all I should have done in the first place.  Do the people who make these guidelines take into account how very frightening I am? I just don’t know.


Things are greening out and blooming all over.  We’ve had a decent amount of rain.  Things are lush.  It is nice today so I am able to sit with the door open.  Children are at school.  The neighborhood is quiet except for the occasional car and a vacuum cleaner down the way.  All is at peace.


Only I with my questions and the darting chickadees have any apparent concerns.


Isn’t that the way with things?  There are times of intensity. If we sit and listen, there are times of peace.  The peace isn’t exactly still.  It has a quality tiny whitesof acceptance though.  I seem to be the only one in any way distressed.  I want it both ways.  I want the peace and I want the answers.  I like to believe that if I sit and wait the answers will show themselves.  Perhaps there are no answers.  And waiting doesn’t come easily.


Nevertheless, I remain, within the peace, asking, watching and waiting.


I know not everyone has the luxury of sitting and watching their back yards.  So what do you folks do with your questions?  How do you watch and wait?  Where do you find peace?  I wonder.20160518_111610


door latch


There are five beautiful, perfect eggs in the blue bird nest now.  It’s exciting!  Just the thought that there might be babies who live to fledge, that I might get to watch them learning to fly is wonderful!


But I’m blocked.  I’m used to getting up and going outside.  While waiting for my coffee I take the dog out onto the deck.  Or we walk around the yard.  We breathe deeply.  The dog breathes many places.  I like to feel the ground under my feet or at least the deck boards.  I like to smell the weather – to get a feel for the day.


Now every time I step out back the blue bird flies off her nest.  This is worrisome for me.  It has been chilly and damp.  I do not want her eggs to get too cold.  I don’t know how long it takes for cold and damp to creep into apekoe 5-16 warm nest enclosed in a box.  Presumably it would take a while.  I’m uncertain.


So, I haven’t been going out that way.  I miss it.  I would have liked to take photos of the emerging changes in the plant life.  I would have enjoyed sitting on the deck and reading on the few balmy days there have been. But no. I won’t.


Several weeks ago “practicing spring” was feeding me.  My soul was joyful and hopeful.  Practicing spring had a locus.  My back yard was a place of retreat and growth.  Now I’m blocked from that practice.


Sure, I can and do go out front.  I don’t relax and linger in my house coat the way I would in the back yard though.  It’s not comfortable to think the neighbors are watching.  I know they are.  There’s concrete evidence.  I don’t much care if they see me, but it’s a different experience than solitary contemplation in a place of peace.


Sure, I can and do explore the neighborhood park and watch the growth and the wild things there.  It’s a wonderful thing.  Yet it requires preparation: 20160503_142756eating first (there’s that low blood sugar thing) and dressing appropriately.  Good shoes are a good idea.  One must already know what the day is like before walking that far.  One can’t be stepping out merely to test the day.  By the time I get to the park I’m not just beginning my day.  The day has already started.


Sure, I can and do watch developments out our lovely French doors.  But being behind glass just isn’t the same.  I can’t feel and smell the life on the other side.


So what do we do when something blocks our practice?  When it just isn’t the same?


It’s time to feel sad—to acknowledge that I miss it.  It’s time to look around for new opportunities.  What new thing is drawing me?  What else does or can touch my soul in an inviting, joyful way—can evoke praise and gratitude without effort? Perhaps such an impulse of joy and gratitude is unsustainable?   I don’t know.


I haven’t found the new thing yet.  I have to keep looking.  That’s the thing right now:  Keep looking.


Nevertheless, the rain keeps raining and the sun keeps shining.  Day and night, springtime and harvest in their season still come and go.  All manner of things will be well, even if they’re different and unsought.


And . . .there is still hope for fledglings.  What a gift that would be!