I have a flower box hanging outside of my dining room window and every year I fill it with beautiful plants and flowers. This past spring was like most others in that I planted some sweet seedlings with the intention of marveling as they grew. But this spring was also a little different. As a result of the pandemic, I had more time to watch these little plants. It was fascinating, really. I always say that we can learn a lot from nature. After all, it just does what it is supposed to do. Instinctively.
As time went on, I begin to notice a little bird visiting my flower box throughout the day. After inspecting the box, I am delighted to see that she is building a nest. Piece by piece, the little bird built a home for her precious eggs. I watched as she worked tirelessly for days on end. All by herself. Bit by bit and piece by piece. Motherhood is like that, isn’t it? Tireless work and unending sacrifice. Finally, that little momma lays her eggs. She does not rush. As a matter of fact, it takes her almost a week to lay 7 precious eggs.
I continued to watch as she tended to those eggs. The motherly instinct really is a wonder, isn’t it? After many long days and lots of careful plant watering-can’t drown the little eggs-I finally saw some cracks. Those baby birds were an amazing source of entertainment with their wobbly legs and wild feathers. Such fun to watch. They were getting very curious and spending quite a bit of time exploring my window box. As a result, I knew it was almost time for them to leave the nest, as all babies do.
One afternoon, I noticed that the momma bird was fluttering around the box in panic. There were other birds attacking her babies! I quickly ran to the window and crouched down to see why these birds were attacking these precious babies. To my knowledge, birds didn’t normally do that. Shockingly, the birds were not, in fact, attacking the babies. The birds were helping the little momma because a snake had slithered into her nest and was eating her babies. And I had a front-row seat for this massacre.
It took me a long time to get over that. Watching the momma build a home for her babies and then having them taken from her in a blink of an eye. The way her community rallied around her and fought to help protect the innocent. The way she came back to her nest to look for them for the rest of the day. I imagine their smell was still fresh in the nest. Friends, we can learn a lot from nature. The instinct to protect our babies is real. The need for community is even more real. The snakes are out there and waiting to prey. We have to look out for one another. We have to be vigilant.
I like to think that the momma bird feels comfort that her bird community rallied around her and struck against something far more powerful than they were. There is strength in numbers and those birds knew it. After all, if it’s good for the birds, why not us?