Oh, to roost undisturbed

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The brown mother bird built her nest in our carport in a wooden crate, not a good decision since it sat on a shelf about three feet off the ground. For several days, I watched her fly in and out, waiting for the cream-colored eggs to hatch.

“That was not a great place for a nest,” I told my husband when I first saw it. “I’m afraid the cats will find it.”

But they didn’t find it, not for a week or so. My middle grandchild came for a visit and oohed over the tiny eggs and the little mother attending them. I watched my cats crisscross the carport seemingly unaware of what grabbed her attention.

“When those babies start crying, I think the cats will notice,” I said to my daughter. “That won’t be good.”

She said her mother cat has three babies and brings them treats, like a rabbit or a lizard she caught. This despite the fact they have cat food available.

“I suppose that’s just nature,” I said. “I still hope my birds survive to fly from that nest.”

Early this morning as I sat at my window enjoying my meditation time, I heard a thump followed by the frantic squawking of a bird. I raced for the door.

Sure enough, there was my gray cat, his head in the nest. I chased him away and discovered there were only two eggs left. From a branch close by the mother continued her panicked cry.

Now I understand how things work. Big animals eat smaller ones. Frogs eat bugs. Birds eat frogs. Cats eat birds.

Still, I didn’t want my cat to eat the bird eggs so I chased it away. Why I don’t feel as inclined to protect the bug or frog is a mystery and perhaps something I should meditate upon.

Anyway, I took up a position on the deck near the carport and averted a couple of my cat’s attempts to get a second helping of eggs.

“Nancy, you cannot guard the nest from now on,” said my voice of reason.

I knew the voice spoke truth, but I was in full emotion mode, totally identifying with that mother bird. What could I do to protect her potential babies?

Moving the nest to a higher shelf was not the answer since cats have no trouble climbing. Besides, if I moved it, the mother might not return. What to do? What to do?

As I sat pondering the situation, a flash of gray streaked across the carport and leapt toward the shelf. Before I made it down the steps, the cat disappeared around the corner of the house.

I peeped into the nest and saw the two eggs, rolled around a bit but not gone. Thinking I scared the cat before he did any damage, I settled back on the deck with my morning tea.

I was peacefully sipping when the cat came up behind me. As I turned, my heart sunk into my stomach. He sat proudly displaying his prize catch — the little brown mother bird.

I walked inside knowing the cat’s next stop was the nest and a meal of the remaining eggs.

As I returned to my morning meditation, I sat with thoughts about the ebb and flow of things, the coming and going of life. Sometimes the natural order seems cruel, a mother bird dying under my cat’s paw, but that is the way of it. Cats do what cats do and I suppose birds know this truth.

We live with this same order. We come and we go in our appointed time. So, I guess the trick is to realize that truth, build our nests anyway and make the best of the days we roost undisturbed.