Seeking the best for both worlds
The flutter of wings and chirping sounds woke me as birds flew into the attic through the louvered vent above my bedroom window.
Because this is the second year birds have nested in my attic, I realized that it had become all too popular a nesting place.
I asked the man who's painting my house if he'd mind climbing to the rooftop to put a new screen on the vent.
When I came home that afternoon, he had just finished removing a bird's nest from my attic. A loose bundle of straw and four speckled eggs, still warm to the touch, lay on the ground.
At first my instincts told me to gather the eggs and place them in a safe and warm location where they might hatch. Then common sense returned.
I remembered Diane Johnson of Operation Wildlife saying that baby birds have to be fed every 15 minutes around the clock just to survive.
Even if they did hatch, the birds would have little or no chance of survival in the most patient of households, let alone in my busy household. To bring any bit of creation to life when there is no hope better than starvation simply isn't much of a choice.
Why is it that we are so often struck with the desire to rescue creatures? Why is it that a reporter came into the news office last week nearly in tears because her car had run over a turtle on the way here? Why, as she said, was her mother a person who would often stop along the road to carry turtles to the side of the highway to safety? Why is it that when my children were young and they would find a baby bird blown from the nest or a baby bunny rescued when mowing someone's yard, that they would automatically think to bring the animal home to me? And why was it that I could hardly say no?
Once we kept a small starling alive for two weeks. But about the time his pin feathers started looking like real honest-to-goodness feathers, we realize he wasn't going to make it. Later, youngest son brought home a baby rabbit that thrived under our tender care until our cat climbed into its box and killed it.
The question becomes: Should we intervene or should we simply let nature take its course?
This is a dilemma faced by most of us at one time or another. We value life and the wildlife that surrounds us. Yet we realize there are times when we are nearly powerless to save life, be it with wounded or lost creatures or be it with people we know and love. There are times that we as humans come face to face with our own limitations.
One small moment just a few little speckled eggs so easily put aside yet remembered as one more reminder of the fragility of life.
Even as I place the delicate egg back on the bed of straw that the painter will carry away, the childish voice inside of me says wait there might still be a chance.
It's then that the serenity prayer comes to mind the request for serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference.
Clearly, and almost day to day, we must look at life even at the simple things and realize what is in our power to control and what is not.
This does not always come as easily as we might wish.
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