Friday, April 23, 2010
A Mother's Plight
When I arrived in the present season, I was delighted to see the Robins bobbing in and out of the shadowy green grass rooting around for worms.
The soft pink morning called for rain. I stood on the upper deck and watched as one took flight. My smile turned into horror when I realized that the bird was diving straight at me. I thought that she was going to attack, but she turned away abruptly at the last second. My heart throbbed in my temples as I continued to visualize the peculiar and frightening scene.
She dove at me again; I ducked and covered my head with my hands. Running and hiding was not an option; I am a long time bird enthusiast. I tiptoed to another area on the deck and she came at me again from a different angle. This was out of the ordinary. All I ask for is common civility.
Later that day I discovered a nest beneath a beam of the upper deck in the corner. Knowing that this was her nesting place, I stayed away. I admired her and felt a curious bond, being a protective mother as well. We were in that world of doing whatever it takes to keep our young safe.
After a few days, I walked quietly down the steps and saw her perched on her roost. From a safe and respectable distance, I politely snapped a photo, using my zoom lens of course, keeping my affection within bounds.
One day last week, her babies hatched. She flew to and from the nest with offerings of worms and such that she harvested from the bosom of our Earth mother. I was thankful for the opportunity to witness one of life’s little miracles.
Life changes in an instant.
Yesterday was a day to lament. The shrill chattering of a mother in distress rose above the spiraling descent of the song of the Wood Thrush. On the stairs lay a lifeless baby chick and the scattered remnants of the nest. I hurried to see if there was a chance of rescue. I was met with an aching emptiness quite void of spirit and life; the other chicks were nowhere in sight; mother flew into the sheltered embrace of a nearby spruce. Once again, the world would be imperfect to me.
This morning I soaked in the golden sun; the sky overflowed with strains from the bird chorus. She hopped silently in the cool, dew-covered grass tugging at persistent worms. I wondered if she had forgotten her babies. My heart withered.
A mother’s plight is bittersweet.