The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Monday, May 30, 2011

Bird Nest

I'm finding bird's nests are everywhere these days, either in process or completed, perhaps topped with a motionless bird. I like it when only the beak of the guardian is visible.

This Spring, we have 3 nests that are supporting eggs: a chickadee nest in a small clay birdhouse my friend made for me, a wren nest in the eves of the deck overhang, and a cardinal nest in the rose arbor.

There may be more, but so far, this is what I've discovered.

Over the years, chickadees have given the clay birdhouse serious consideration, but none has ever deemed it worthy of nest building. Why all of a sudden is it so attractive? This pair moved in last month and seem very happy with their digs.

The parents spell one another several times a day and hang out on the clothes line just long enough to sing an important "Keep Out" song, then they're off to feed and check out the neighborhood. So far no familiar frantic comings and goings with beaks full of food....

The wrens, who may remain unidentified, have sung all Spring like opera stars, loud and in your face. I don't know how so much song can be packed into such a small bird, but wrens are mighty singers! One of the sounds they make that I really love is the chittering trill...this is usually used when there is a group of wrens hanging out in the quince, running from branch to branch, communicating some precise language that has nothing at all to do with the human world.

How, I ask myself, can I know so little of something with which I live so intimately?
Wrens are like curious children, and comfortable with us here at the house, even allowing the indoor cats to watch the nest construction.

And the cardinals....who knows how they will fare this season!
Last Spring they built the flimsiest nest I've ever seen, it just seemed pathetic. A twig here, a piece of cellophane there, and lots of daylight in between.
It was also built in the rose arbor, but smack in the middle, so that when the eggs predictably rolled out, they both smashed open on the walkway beneath the arbor. It was really sad to see that little yellow puddle of cardinal egg yolk.
Last year's nesting pair may have been very young birds and it could have been a first nest.

Fortunately, this season's nest is far more substantial. No clear blue sky to be seen anywhere between the twigs and plastic.
And they've also placed the nest to one end of the arbor, so if eggs do roll out, they may not break on the soft moss beneath along the walkway.

Another good sign is that the female is very protective of her nest, and if we linger too long in the back yard, she lets us know with her high pitched squeaks that it's time for her to get back on the nest. She'll tolerate our walking beneath the arbor, but no slowpokes! And in this case, it's often just her little beak that I can see from the ground, very endearing.

I'm excited to experience who appears later in the month of June. It doesn't take long for everyone to begin tapping on the inside of the eggshell, make a break for it and begin the process of being!

In many ways, I'm still tapping on the inside of my eggshell. Sometimes my Sensei taps from the outside, or my best friends, my family and my husband, my Dharma family--all offer some sort of shorthand, some sort of code, in dialog to my code. Sometimes I know it and understand it, sometimes it feels as if we're all communicating under water, but faith in the process of leaving the confines of the eggshell behind is oftentimes unconscious!

When that faith becomes conscious, the Way is before us, and then the hard work begins.

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