Honestly, you would think this place is for the birds! These days, I feel like I’m sort of living in an Alfred Hitchcock movie. No matter where I go, I’m squawked at and swooped down upon and pooped on by some angry bird mom who sees me as a threat to her brood. Telling her I wouldn’t think of harming her or her chicks doesn’t do me one bit of good. She tells me, in no uncertain terms, I have trespassed on her territory. There is no welcome mat for me, like I have for her, on my front porch. Just LOOK at her clenched beak and beady eyes!
This is the treatment I get for inviting nature to cohabitate with me. Ungrateful feathered fiends! Make no mistake. I typed “fiends”, not “friends”.
Just think about it. I drive thirty minutes ONE WAY to the farm co-op to buy EXACTLY the seed these birds want. And I keep not one, but two feeders filled at all times. On top of that, I provide yummy bird blocks of LARD studded chock-full of berries and an array of other avian treats. Huge jars of grape jelly and bags of fresh oranges take up a good portion of our refrigerator. Mealworms, gross even when dried, are always on hand. Gardens are planted with coneflowers for finches and perennials with trumpet-shaped blooms for hummingbirds. What more do the birds want?
They want me to move out!
Thankless. That’s what they are.
They act like this 44 acres of paradise belongs to them! I would like to show them our mortgage! And then? Maybe they might be GRATEFUL that we’ve purchased this land and allow them to live on it? And they don’t even have to fend for themselves anymore, for crying out loud! I provide! I’ve created the perfect nanny state!
But NOOOOOOO! They don’t care! They act like they own the place! They think they’re entitled to live any way they want and swoop and poop wherever they please!
Imagine this—I walked out to inspect the NINE birdhouses and ONE apartment building my husband and kids LOVINGLY installed in the west field. As I approached the first, I got kind of close to the hole, and out flies a Field Swallow practically stabbing me in the eye! Like, who does she think she IS? I am her protector! We built her HOUSE, for goodness sake! We put FOOD on her perch to feed not only HER but HER WHOLE DARN FAMILY!!!! UGH!
I’m on a roll . . . .
And then there’s the BARN swallows!
I go out to commune with my horses this morning and they—the BARN swallows—start in on me.
SQUAWK! SQUAWK! SQUAWK! Swooping and squawking and pooping all over everything! Inside and out, they fly through and around the barn. My head swirls. I am in an Alfred Hitchcock movie. I know it. I’m about to be pecked to death! Someone please stop them!
I try to photograph the threatening feathered things and I get pushed onto my butt from behind by a horse wanting to nuzzle. Oh, brother! I get up and refocus—my camera—and snap as barn swallows try to kill me. I hope you are appreciating the SACRIFICE I made to bring you this POST!
So, after fending for my life, inside the barn and out, I retreat to the front porch of OUR HOME—the one we PAID for!!!!
And what greets me?
Another set of barn swallows! And these are greedy little things! They have expanded their territory from barn to front porch. Apparently, no one has informed them that they are BARN swallows, not PORCH swallows. I can hear their kids screaming in their brand new home built right above—OH, YES—our front porch swing. OF COURSE! Know what that means?
I’ll spare you the CLOSE UP photo and provide a more distant shot, third plank from the right, third plank from the left . . .
You got it! The porch swing—OUR porch swing—is covered with barn swallow poop! SO inviting! Can’t WAIT to take a seat and gently swing with my husband as we watch Spring unfold herself before us!
Grossed out by the swing, I turn and find more giftings of another winged sort. Bats.
By definition, bats are not birds. They are mammals. WHO CARES! They still poop!
I see our wicker chairs—the ones my husband and I sit upon on quiet summer morns, sipping freshly ground and brewed Kenyan coffee before teenagers rise and reek havoc, spreading foul morning body odor and even worse sewer breath . . .
Yep! The wicker chairs are covered with GUANO! For those not familiar with bats—well, let’s just say guano is a no-no if you want to sit your you-know-what down.
So, seeking relief, I saunter to the back yard and find MORE birds pecking at the earth of my raised garden beds! No WoNdeR my lettuce and spinach and beets haven’t sprouted! These ravenous feathered vexations have EATEN my salad fixings! Here I SACRIFICE my time and energy and money to provide THEIR food and they go and eat MINE!
OK. I’m sure by now you all are getting the spiritual point of this story, right?
I thank God for the birds because they reminded me of me.
God invites me to live in His territory, the place He created and purchased back with His blood. He feeds me. He waters me. He provides everything I need and even goes out of His way to delight me. And I? I think I’m entitled to more. I think I’m entitled to live the way I want, have the life I want, seek the stuff I want, desecrate holy places, tell God to take a hike because I have it all figured out and I really don’t need Him—no thank you very much, unless, of course, some unexpected crisis comes.
So who’s in charge of the farm? Who really bought the farm? There’s no need for birds to be wary, to be frightened, to expend energy defending and fighting and protecting.
God owns all. God is in charge of all. God loves and protects and provides and never, ever wants to harm.
When will we stop swooping and screaming and desecrating holy?
When will we stand still, say thanks, and let God be God of our lives?
He who loves and cares for the birds of the air, loves and cares for us, much more than we know.
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young–a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. Psalm 84:1-5