I guess I’ve been there too many times to count, but I’m wondering what would be the worst thing that could happen that would stop me from starting over?
Sitting on the back screen porch this morning with one of my regular Airbnb guests, we were sipping our coffee and I heard the sweet sound of Wren warble. I pointed to the Mimosa tree where their little wood home and nesting activity have given me a lot of amusement and joy over the past few weeks when to my horror, it was gone.
I jumped up, peeled off my socks and stepped out into the dew-drenched grass to locate the tiny, green birdhouse I painted and hung for them this past April. I found it on the ground covered in dirt and debris. Not only had it been knocked down, but it had also been tumbled about and stripped of everything that was inside. And I’m certain there were babies there because a pair of wrens had been busy coming and going this past week…in and out of that tiny house, all day long.
What in the world happened? I thought.
A quick question on my Birding in Indiana Facebook group gave me the most probable answer…raccoon! Makes sense since blue marbles had also been dug out of some of my planters and were scattered on the concrete patio. Racs love the marbles and for the most part, I don’t get too worried that they take them from the planters…no big deal.
But stealing wren babies from a nest…that’s a big deal. I couldn’t get over it, especially since the pair of wrens were hanging around now in the tree right where the house had been. I felt bad for them.
So my next question to the facebook group was if I rehang the house, will they start over?
And the answers came, Yes! They will.
So I took a zip tie this time and rehung the house. I went back to my screen porch and waited. Within about five minutes, what I think was the female showed up and slipped through the round opening. She popped back out and warbled. Her mate showed up and for the next twenty minutes or so they took turns going in the house. I don’t like to anthropomorphize (attribute feelings to animals), but I liked to imagine they were considering how best to start over. They’ve been in the house now all afternoon, adding new sticks and grasses.
If anything could devastate a bird or animal I think this might be a tough one, losing your offspring before they even leave the nest. I have two friends who’ve experienced that kind of loss and I can’t even imagine. It would be hard. I also know people who’ve lost jobs and homes, spouses, best friends, people who’ve divorced, lost physical capacity, limbs, speech, sight, etc. Starting over after loss is something we all go through. No one gets a pass. But I think most life has this tremendous resilience, a supernatural tendency to move forward despite loss and devastation. For some reason, we keep going, don’t we?
I recently went to see The Biggest Little Farm (I highly recommend), a documentary about Apricot Lane Farm in California. In the film, they faced a ton of hardships and setbacks trying to work in harmony with nature. It was amazing to watch how each and every one of their challenges was a learning experience that led them to understand better their place in this Universe – at least from their current view looking back. And I think that’s how all of life is.
As a people, we can’t see the importance of what we’re going through or what we’ll learn about any experience until some time in the future when we look back and we get it…but only if we make the choice to start over when things didn’t work out the way we expected them to.
What’s been the hardest thing you’ve ever had to start over from?