I’m sure there are other spring gardens out there that are more prolific, but these blooms in my yard are rather spontaneous, growing and thriving not because of any effort on my part, but in spite of my efforts at gardening and yard care. They are a gift of nature, and I feel privileged to be able to experience the season in such glory.
I occasionally get the errant wildlife visitor to my little ecosystem I like to call a yard, such as the young opossum that wandered by in August. Never saw him before, haven’t seen him since. It was just a chance encounter with something wild that touched me in a way I never thought an opossum could (they are much cuter when they are young; maybe that explains it).
This morning I had another brush with nature. I had let the dog out in the back yard for his morning constitutional (I am dog-sitting my grandpuppy Finnigan for a couple of weeks), and he was instantly drawn to what I thought was a branch with leaves that must have blown off of a tree in the previous night’s wind.
Mind you, in the morning my eyesight isn’t optimal, so when Finnigan started scarfing something down in his undiscriminating manner, I realized it was probably animal-, not plant-based. I followed Finni and found the remains of a midsized bird. Actually it was only a few feathers, the back rib cage and the feet. I don’t know what part of the bird Finnigan may have eaten. I try not to think about that.
One of the feet had a band on it with an identification number. I realized that someone must have been tracking this bird for some reason, and I felt obligated to follow up on it. The foot was larger than a mere robin or sparrow, so I wasn’t sure what I was dealing with.
Fortunately I know someone who is into birds and so I contacted her and was led to a website for tracking bird banding IDs. A few phone calls later, it came to light that the bird had been a racing pigeon that had belonged to someone who lived a couple of blocks from my home. Not exactly wildlife itself, but evidence that there is likely a hawk or other bird of prey in the vicinity. I’m pretty darn sure that my cats couldn’t/wouldn’t have taken down anything larger than a grasshopper, and the man who came to collect the bird parts mentioned hawk strikes, so I am assuming that’s what happened.
Even something as seemingly grotesque and macabre as bird parts is a reminder that nature is alive and well and operating as planned in our world. I could have done without the dog eating whatever had been left behind, but otherwise it was a glimpse into the machinations of life and death among the wild, all within a few blocks of the local Seven-Eleven store.
I am thankful when nature drops life lessons into my back yard. I need to get out more and meet nature… well, in nature, and I plan to do that. In the meantime, there is no sense in overlooking the lessons available in our own back yards.
My condolences to the pigeon owner. My congratulations to the hawk. And my sincere hope that Finnigan doesn’t throw up random bird parts on my carpet later today. Life is transpiring as it was meant to do, and I am privileged to be both a witness and a participant in the ebb and flow of nature around me.
If, however, a bear or a wolf comes along some day and eats me up, I recant everything I have just written. My “warm and fuzzies” only extend so far.