Wednesday, August 24, 2016

You Surely Reap What You Sew

My neighbor planted a garden along her fence row,
With the utmost of care, she did till and sow,
I too sowed a garden atop my fence, not low,
Where my lovely feathered friends could live and grow.



I so enjoy providing shelters for my feathery buddies living with me up here in the foothills of Roan Mountain. 

I love watching the tiny hummingbirds, and delight at their shenanigans. On the other hand, the oh-so-small Warbling Vireos who live among us bring out my mother instinct in part because of their mating commitments. Though larger than the hummingbirds, the warblers don’t have the cocky confidence of the hummers. I spend much time in the rocker on the front porch marveling at ‘the least of these.' 

This past spring was spent watching a mommy and daddy Vireo as they worked in harmony building their nest in one of the birdhouses designed primarily for their species. The soon-to-be-mommy would land on the little stoop with a small scrap of moss or tiny twig and wait patiently for her husband to come out of the home’s hole door. As he flew off to gather his next contribution to the impending miracle, she entered to stuff the mattress in her birthing bed as we expectant mommies are prone to do.

After their work was finished and her nest ready, she entered her home and did not come back out for a season. Her husband stayed close. She labored in love, and her eggs were finally laid to rest. She and her husband both then settled down to co-nurture them to birth, a strong trait of the Vireos. Incubation is by both parents, anywhere from 12-14 days, and the male frequently sings from the nest while incubating.

Then one day when it was the mama's turn to sit on the nest, I noted the daddy flew off but he, uncharacteristically, never returned. I felt sad for the abandoned mommy and her future children.

Yet, she remained stoic and lovingly cared for those babies when they hatched. As hungry gaping mouths constantly demanded to be fed, she became a frequent flyer in search of bugs and grubs.

When my grandbabes came up to visit their Nana, I cautioned them not to go near the little cabin and frighten the new mommy. I was pleased to see how very careful my puppies were when they learned the mother bird would abandon her little ones if they pestered her. I believe the word ‘abandon’ frightens children the world ‘round as it has been said that being abandoned is the most destructive emotion we can inflict upon another human being. 

Thankfully, the mother was faithful, and finally, her brood was ready to leave her nest, and they did; all flew safely into the sanctuary of the forest that surrounds us.

Having witnessed the plight of this one pitiful mommy and her little ones who were suddenly abandoned started me thinking though about the four little bird cabins now empty. I knew the coming spring would be bringing forth new families and I realized something needed to be done now to prepare for them.

So I sat down and penned four tiny manuscripts and rolled each into a scroll. I tied a pretty ribbon around each and placed it in each cabin as a welcome gesture. I hope these will be a source of inspiration if needed and the families will find bits ’o wisdom, maybe even a note of levity. Who knows, some of the powerful words may give one of the little birds the courage to soar like an eagle.

In addition to the scrolls, I have also decided to go a step further.  I am going to invite each Vireo family to come join me on the back porch for brunch every morning. I will put out small bowls of savory seeds, bits of fruit, sliced caterpillar-a favorite of the species- and water; I will have my usual poppy seed bagels and cream cheese. Hey! I just had another idea! Those little sweet peas fly up this path to the back porch so after they eat and start back down to their cabins, I  think I will put a birdbath right beside this walkway so they can also take their morning baths! Yes, that is a must do.

In the meantime I thought I would share with you, my faithful friends and readers, what I wrote in those scrolls to each of my future feathery friends...                                    

“Hello, my graceful beauty and new neighbor. Welcome to Misty Hollow. My name is Auntie Linda, and I live in the old log cabin right in front of you. I want you to know my heart and home are open to you at all times; just fly to my window, and I will drop everything and be at your peck and call. In this scroll are some words of wisdom others have shared with me in times of trouble. I want to pass them on to you, my friend, in the hopes these truths may one day encourage you. 

Always remember, we might not know what the future holds but we sure know Who holds it, don’t we honey? Again, welcome to the hollow and may God bless your stay as you and your husband busy yourselves with nesting and birthin’ your babies. Oh! I almost forgot. We have a huge Easter Egg Roll on the grounds planned in a few weeks, and I hope you and the kids will be able to join us!”

Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm. -Abraham Lincoln

Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength. -Saint Francis de Sales 

I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born, I set you apart. –Jeremiah 1:5

A happy family is but an earlier heaven. -George Bernard Shaw

"As you read this scroll you precious little lovely, consider this my hearty welcome to you and your husband; I trust you’ve found your cabin to your liking.  I live in that old log cabin looming right outside your front door. Please know that my door will always be open to you. Just fly over and peck on the window and I'll be there for you, come hell or high water. I hope the pearls of wisdom found in this scroll can be of use to you somehow, someday. 
There is a hodgepodge of soothing and helpful truths I have used as a salve for my past wounds, so I wrote them here for you should you ever need them. May God’s richest blessings rest upon you and your husband as you begin your quest to get pregnant, build your nest, lay and share the sitting on those eggs, and as they crack open. Welcome to Misty Hollow!"

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. -Desmond Tutu

My peace I give unto you, let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  -John 14:27

Permanence, perseverance, persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguish the strong soul from the weak. -Thomas Carlyle

There is no such thing as a "broken family."  Family is family and is not determined by marriage certificates, divorce papers, and adoption documents. Families are made in the heart. The only time family becomes null is when those ties in the heart are cut. If you cut those ties, those people are not your family. If you make those ties, those people are your family. And if you hate those ties, those people will still be your family because whatever you hate will always be with you. - C. Joy Bell

"Hey there, you adorable tiny tot you. I see you are reading the scroll I put here anticipating this move into your cabin. Let me introduce myself. I hope you will call me Auntie Linda and I live in that log cabin right out your front door and slightly to the right; that's right, the one with the blue shutters. I hope you are getting settled in and are excited about living here with us in Misty Hollow. I know you, and your husband have much work to accomplish before you can finally crack open your babies and start cuddling. I know...I have myself nested four times, and it can wear your skin thin!

This scroll contains a lit'l tidbits of wisdom contained within and has been such a source of comfort to me in my times of need. I wanted you to have it should you ever have a need. May God's richest blessings be upon you in this, your new home, you itsy bitsy baby doll. Oh, by the way...if you ever have a need, come and peck on my window, sweetheart." 

The tongue has no bones, but it is strong enough to break a heart. Please be careful with your words and sticking your tongue out is mean too. –Anonymous

A truly strong person does not need the approval of others any more than a lion needs the approval of sheep. -Vernon Howard

My peace I give unto you, Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27

Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten. -David Ogden Stiers

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh since there is less cleaning up to do afterward. -Kurt Vonnegut

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart. -Helen Keller
"Hello. I am happy you are reading this scroll I left for you, my dear feathered gal pal. I am also delighted to see you and your husband chose the biggest home on the birdie block! You both must be planning on having a huge family. I love watching all the new chick-a-dees in the neighborhood stretching out their tiny wings for the first time while tumbling ‘round in the yard trying to peck each other. My husband and I had four little ones ourselves. I wanted more, but God wisely chose not. 

I do so hope your family will love living here at Misty Hollow. How far did you have to travel to find our paradise here on earth? I cannot wait to sit down with you and hear your story. Your water wheel is not only a wonderful way to deliver power to your home by using the creek behind you, but the cool breeze generated by the rolling wheel is delightful. 

Now, this scroll contains insightful quotes from various authors that meant a lot to me in troublesome times in my past. I so hope you glean bits of wisdom that speak to you if you ever get to your wit’s end. 

And please make note, be sure and peck on my window should you need for anything, honey. I always keep my larder well stocked; shoot, I even keep a good supply of worms on hand. There’s a carton in my fridge in the laundry room right now. Would you believe I left a container out there once and when I went to get a needed worm, all I found was black dirt! That’s the truth, honey! Well, that’s why the Good Lord says ‘ashes to ashes, dust to dust’ in the Good Book. If anybody doubts that truth, just let ‘em buy a can of worms. Anyways, please call me Auntie Linda, sweet girl. I will be praying for God's wisdom, guidance and a heapin' helpin' of love for your future family."

I will not forget you. I have carved you on the palm of my hand. Isaiah 49:15

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.  -Robert Louis Stevenson

Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed. - Albert Einstein

Lastly, always can be cruel at times. You may shed tears, but none will see your pain; your wing becomes crippled, and all look away. You are cowering in fear, yet that too goes unnoticed.  But if you accidentally expel a little gas...                        

                                           The Tale End