In time we had issues. My feathered friends had sloppy eating habits, scattering pecked-at food everywhere. (A quick aside: The expression “to eat like a bird” which we associate with eating lightly is somewhat misleading. Birds do not eat lightly at all but can spend much of their day foraging and are “picky eaters” in that they sort through mixed birdseed to find exactly the choice bits they want.) This untidiness was an unfortunate invitation to our ever-threatening mice population, with whom my husband was engaged in daily conflict. And the birds left other, unmentionable, messes.
I was determined not to close the restaurant. Instead I opened a different location a short distance from the entrance to our house. When spring and summer arrived, the demand diminished for people-supplied meals, and many weeks passed without refilling the bird feeder.
Fall arrived and the weather turned cooler and wetter. Recently, sitting in my office, I heard a delicate fluttering at the window. Two small and lovely multicolored birds were hovering, hummingbird-style, intently eyeing me. Could they be trying to tell me that their cupboard was bare? Could these be the smartest birds ever? Yes and yes. How could I not love their intelligence and ingenuity? And I was needed again! My affection for these charming creatures deepened.
A few days later my husband and I were awakened by furious, repetitive, knocking sounds. Was a neighbor in distress at the front door? Had the electrician arrived early? Was DHL making a pre-dawn delivery? Doubtful on all counts. I slipped out of bed, made my way downstairs, and realized that the knocking continued upstairs. Puzzled, I opened the door, greeted by…
Seriously. Birds were everywhere. Little ones, big ones, around the porch, across the yard, in the treetops. I retreated quickly, then grabbed the bucket of birdseed balls and peeked through a crack as I opened the door. Everyone politely gave me a wide berth as I crossed to the feeder, but they were on the picnic table, under the car, and swooping through the air. I’ll be honest, it was alarming.
I think that now we have all come to an understanding. I keep close watch on the birds’ larder levels and they don’t wake us up anymore. The mice finally gave up when Keith stuffed every possible crevice near the baseboards with steel wool…although they may be enjoying those discards of the birds, who knows?
Speaking of seeds falling, the Parable of the Sower is one of my favorites.
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”…“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” –Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 NIV (Emphasis added.)
Next time I’ll share how I just had two birthdays in the space of eight days. It seems anything is possible these days. In the meantime, have a great weekend and keep well, safe, and sane –T.