Wednesday, May 5, 2010
learning to fly
i have, at the end of the front porch, a nesting basket for birds. it is intended for use in winter, as a warm respite when the temperatures drop and the cold winds blow. of course, when spring arrived, it was still hanging...and before i realized it, there was a family of purple finches living there. i saw them building their nest and naturally did not bother it, for they nested in that very same spot last year and i knew it was going to be very entertaining. when momma bird was sitting on the eggs, daddy bird would bring food to her. and when the little ones hatched, noisy little things, i could sit in the rocker not 10 feet away and watch momma bird and daddy bird travel to and fro with delicious (and i use that term loosely) treats for the babies. and then.....then came the day...the day. one could not purchase a ticket to any venue or show anywhere that would be any more entertaining than watching the day the baby birds leave the nest....they day they learn to fly! it took a large part of the day, first of all..i know not how many little ones there were but there were several. now the end of the porch where the nest is located is in very close proximity to a redbud tree. and in that redbud tree i have hung a number of different feeders that are frequented by a number of different kinds of birds. and on that day it seemed as if that redbud tree was as busy as grand central station! first the little purple finches would teeter at the opening of the nest, then fall/fly/flutter to the shrub below, chirping the whole way down. when they landed without incident, they would look around as if to say "how the heck did i get here and what do i do now?!" they bounced and swung on the tops of the shrub branches for a bit to get their bearings, then i suppose bravery took over. one by one they jumped and fluttered over to the redbud tree, where visitors to the feeders looked with some disdain at the little ones. then squawking their disapproval at being uprooted from their perch, they flew off, leaving the little family to test their wings. and that they did! from branch to branch, limb to limb they fluttered, squealing in delight...or possibly fear...as they stretched their wings and reveled in their newfound freedom. and as with most siblings, there were a few spats. i actually saw 2 of them going beak to beak and flutterflying at the same time...chirping and squawking all the way from the top brances to the ground where they landed in a heap of feathers and dust, then took off. it was such an experience to watch, this whole learning to fly business. much like us, they started with baby steps, then upon discovering they really could do it, they got braver and braver until it seemed they could fight the world and upon winning, fly off into the sunset. testing their wings for a bit, taking a deep breath, gauging their bravery at jumping that first time....and upon landing, knowing all was well and they really could do it after all. there is much to learn from nature, you know. i am reminded of a friend who has used wonderful words like "jump" and "fly" so many times when describing the bravery life demands. i love those words....and if i might, i'd also like to add this, from watching my purple finches: land on your feet. grab onto something solid and hang on. look around and decide on your freedom to fly. and chirp the whole way...at the top of your lungs...loud and proud!