I was recently dive bombed by a blackbird protecting her nest on my morning walk. Sadly, she made her nest by a well travelled walking path in the city so she gets a lot of dive bombing in…
I’m normally lost in thought or praying as I’m walking and my first contact with the bird took several seconds for me to recognize. Have you ever turned around and realized someone was standing behind you for some time… just watching? Erin does this when I’m focused on sermon content or writing until something vague in my subconscious trying to get my attention makes me turn my head and say “Whoa!! How long have you been standing there??”
My spidey senses were tingling on the walking path as it finally came to me that there was a blackbird hovering just behind my head who had been there for several seconds.
I suppose there’s no point in saying I wasn’t interested in pilfering her nest, but she didn’t know that, and it got me thinking how instinctive we are about protecting our own.
I returned to the path about a week later and noticed the same blackbird (because I can totally tell the difference) involved in a very tense and complicated scenario with a crow. I’ve already said that I hate crows and they’re not even trying to steal my offspring, so the blackbird was wound up pretty tight.
What an unusual protection ritual it was!
The blackbird was obviously at a size disadvantage, but what it lacked it made up for in fierceness. It was dancing back and forth and inching the crow away from the nest.
What I found interesting was that during the show they were nowhere actually near the nest, but about twenty yards away. So involved were they that I had a sudden thought “I wonder if the blackbird has forgotten how far from home she actually is?”.
It was natural for me to think of my own family and how protective we are to simple, immediate threats. When we can focus on something in front of us trying to hurt one of our own we, like most people, are pretty good at it. I’ve watched a lot of families and recognize the pattern, but I also know there is normally something else going on that’s not quite so obvious in light of the immediate threat.
Maybe the crow was a distraction to move the blackbird away from home?
Maybe what we do in the name of concentrating on a threat today puts us in trouble tomorrow? If my daughter is facing conflict with a classmate today it is easy to fall into the trap of throwing all of my focus on that and miss the not-so-present threat of tomorrow.
Example: remove the threat today so I can relax! But her tomorrows will be full of threats of the same nature, will she be able to deal with them? Maybe we’re so busy protecting our family priorities that we’re not asking if our priorities are right in the first place? Priorities need to change sometimes.
Maybe having a nest in the open and having to defend it isn’t as noble as it seems? A little forethought might have avoided the threat altogether.
Crows are clever, evil creatures and I started to wonder what he was up to?
I slowly turned my head to the left wondering if I would see crow #2 meandering behind the blackbird whose attention could only be focused outward, but then I breathed a sigh of relief…
There was another blackbird in the tree closer to the nest watching the whole thing.
One focused outward and one inward. It reminded me how lucky I was to have the parents I did growing up. I’m trying to replicate it but it’s hard sometimes when threats are near.
I guess trust is the thing.
If you try to protect everyone from everything it’s hard to take care of them at the same time. If all you do is take care of people it’s hard to protect from threats you’re not watching.
Why walk alone when you could walk together?
I don’t know what your situation is or if you have a Wishlist that hasn’t happened yet, but I do know that there are people who can help.
One of the single moms at Venue needs her daughter to have a father figure sometimes. She’s a little rascal but I’ve always loved rascals, they tend to grow up and change the world if you can get them on a good road. She needed some help raising a rascal and somehow (tongue in cheek) I know how little rascals think.
I haven’t been present as much as I’d like but I’ve helped out when I could. It’s the beauty of church and community, and the little girl is doing really well. She’s still a rascal and keeps us on our toes, but someday her leadership qualities of wanting to break the rules a little will pay off and change the game for a whole lot of people.
But trust is the thing. Her mom actually needed to trust that I had something to offer that she wouldn’t be able to.
It’s scary needing people the way we do. We have to risk and find out how courageous we really are, especially after we’ve been hurt a few times. And it’s always alarming to find out how much we don’t see because we feel threatened most of the time and can only see that.
It’s easier to isolate and make up a story about how scary the world is, but what’s easy today is hard tomorrow.
I’d rather trust and see what happens…