Sitting on the glider under an oak, a twig loaded with leaves dropped at my feet. I looked up to see a red bushy tail swishing briskly between the limbs. She was on a mission. I searched high up in the branches to see the one she chose to build her nest. The foundation was already set. It seemed she was planning a fortress, high above the dangers which walked or slithered the ground below, to protect her soon-to-be offspring.
I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Her acrobatics held me spellbound. I originally sat down to search the very tops of the pines for my favorite mockingbird who serenaded me almost daily. But this morning something new was in store. I had something to learn from this dedicated mother.
She was particular as she scanned the limbs of one tree or another nearby to select the exact match for the next step in her production. When she approached her next target she gnawed quickly where the twig met the branch and carried it, between her teeth with lightening speed, to the nest where she knitted her new find into its predetermined place. I became more amazed the more I watched. Once she chose a dead branch instead of a twig. I thought she couldn’t possibly maneuver it from where it was lodged among the living ones but I was wrong. She completed the impossible task with great skill and pulled it up about six feet to the nest above moving from limb to limb with grace.
Whether she was taught by her mother or knew by instinct, it became clear she knew her purpose. She knew her talent and showed great confidence in her ability. I’m sure she rises every morning and goes about fulfilling her tasks. She doesn’t worry. She only does. Her head is not filled with distractions.
Today she will build her nest and hide acorns for tomorrow. She will steal food from my ducks in their aviary to eat today. She knows they will not complain, but knows I will. However she is not concerned because I’m too big and slow to do anything about it.
I’m jealous she is at one with nature. She lives. She loves. She accepts life on life’s terms. She doesn’t philosophize whether life is fair or not. She does not pity her position. She makes her life by doing what she was made to do from morning until night.
I don’t know if this is her or her husband, but this is proof they get their food where they can. I’m inside the duck pen.
© Phyllis Weeks Rogers
Header photo credit: pinterest.com