Baby birds, bigger thoughts

I’d discovered yesterday that the eggs under our porch were part of this cycle of nature that sometimes isn’t photogenic. As I went outside, all excited to see the new egg count, a stray cat dashed away.  I suspected what I was about to see, but still, I angled my phone’s lens between the floor boards to get a peek.

Sure enough, four eggs were torn apart. I’d interrupted the cat’s breakfast. By afternoon, the cat, or something else, had returned and finished off the remnants.

The photo today is an empty nest. Had I not looked yesterday, I’d have no idea what happened. 

A few things struck me and they were bigger than you’d expect from a tiny nest.

First, this is the same location a family was hatched last year. I was able to watch and take pictures daily without disturbing the nest at all. I was fortunate enough to have camera in hand the moment they were hatching and got some pretty cool shots.

This year, I was excited the birds had returned to the same spot and had to laugh at myself a little. I found myself doing the same thing this season. As soon as my eyes popped open in the morning, I’d remember the nest, grab my phone and run to the porch to see the progress. It’s a tiny little thing, but I’m always interested in what brings pleasure to us as humans. I’m equally interested in what brings us back down, because you can’t à la carte this life.

So, I was probably more sad about the loss of that little family than I needed to be. I noted that had the nest been up in a tree, I’d have never known and been content in my ignorance of their loss. It happens all the time. It’s nature. The cycle of life. It’s how some species survive. Had I not already been invested in the eggs, would I instead celebrate that a cat is managing to survive in the wild?

I’ve never really liked the phrase ignorance is bliss, probably because it’s often true in larger or more serious scenarios.

It struck me that we see this a lot. I saw it in real-time when I was a government and political reporter, but it’s a sadder statement when the ignorance is purposeful. I can say I’m guilty of it myself, tuning out sometimes to large-scale or world-wide issues because I feel small and powerless. Sometimes I feel my knowledge does me no good, but just brings me stress as there’s little I can do to change those things.

I see it on a small scale and closer to home, too. Since opening a business, I’ve seen a lot of good in people and in the community, but just like the birds and a wild cat, there’s another side. I’ve seen some things I wish I hadn’t. Greed isn’t pretty, especially when that behavior harms others. I have to remind myself that layer was there before I opened a store and I was just content with my lack of knowledge about it. 

I can take something good from that though, too. I know I can focus on the good parts. I am lucky enough to be in charge, surrounding ourselves with those that share a love for our community and provide for our neighbors selflessly and ethically.

I remind myself we aren’t cats or birds. We don’t need to be in survival mode. It doesn’t harm us to care for and tend to others. 

Mostly, though, I’ll remind myself that cats will do what cats do, but I won’t shy away from my moment with birds because of it.

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