September 28, 2022

I’m Learning to Allow Space for Growing Pains—in Nature & in Myself.

growing pains

I spend a lot of time on my front porch in a comfy hammock chair.

It hangs at a corner of the house and swivels so I can see about 90 degrees around the property, mostly east and north.

Sitting outside in the fresh air—seeing the trees dance with the wind, the birds fly about, lizards and squirrels scurry around—is relaxing and grounding for me.

In front of me, to the east, is a tree we planted after moving in almost three years ago. It was a Christmas tree you can plant in your yard instead of killing and disposing of one. I’ve watched this tree grow from the original little pot it was in to become a taller, bushier, stronger tree. I enjoy witnessing how it grows and changes from one year to the next.

On the south edge of the tree there’s a birdfeeder hanging from a shepherd’s hook. There’re at least four different species of birds that eat from there. Cardinals, chickadees, towhees, a couple I haven’t identified yet, and I just caught sight of a woodpecker hanging on the bottom to grab a snack.

Yes, I’m a weirdo who pays attention—in detail—to the life in her yard.

The feeder was refilled Sunday evening. By Wednesday night, only a thin layer of sunflower seeds covered the bottom.

Apparently, this little chickadee stuck her beak and head so far into the food slot she wiggled herself through to get to some food and got stuck inside.

The noise of her flapping her wings against the plastic got my attention. For the first time this past month, I’ve shooed away a couple of the neighborhood stray cats who were stealthy stalking around the tree. I turned to check what the noise was about and saw the flapping about inside the feeder.

Then the flapping stopped. I could tell there was something inside the feeder. Then the flapping started again. While walking the 20-ish feet to the feeder, the bird sat back down, and I quickly caught a picture.

Softly I lifted the feeder off the hook with my right hand. My left hand holding it steady so the chickadee didn’t freak out banging her wings against the circular wall surrounding her. Then I gently pushed the bottom to release the lid, slowly lifting the side furthest away from me—and yay, the bird safely flew away.

Hopefully, the bird did not incur any trauma from this unfortunate event. From now on, I will either keep it filled with seed or take it down.

When I looked at the picture to share the experience with a friend, I was reminded about recent articles I’ve read about food deserts. Was the bird so hungry that it squeezed itself through that small opening?

I wonder if it has anything to do with all the re-building in my neighborhood.

There has been a lot of—I would say—rebuilding of land around my home. Old homes are being demolished and new ones are being built. Of course, this affects and stirs up the local wildlife. Also, these are homes that have been abused, that are old and outdated.

The new homes are fresh and stocked with updated appliances. I’m jealous of the one around the corner with solar panels.

I understand that there are benefits to the growth and change happening around me. So, while I sit on my front porch in my comfy hammock chair, I keep in mind to allow space for these growing pains while I keep the birds fed.

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