Today dawned a clear blue-sky day, cool in the morning, warming up nicely in the afternoon. Perfect for the few chores I had planned: weeding out some of the thistles in the tall grasses; transplanting a few wildflowers; washing a window or two; sweeping the front porch. I didn’t get to the weeding until later, methodically combing through the dewberry, kinnikinic, and meadow grasslands.
With trowel in hand, I pushed back several tall swards and noticed a lovely circular nest burrowed at the base of a clump of grasses, near the ground, well-hidden from view. As I bent down to inspect it further a large garter snake slithered past, jolting me for a second. I watched the snake, who seemed to have a full belly, glide through a patch of clover and disappear.
Then, I focused my attention on the empty nest. With a few tugs, the nest easily became dislodged from its protective space. I marveled at the symmetry. A thousand blades of grass were woven into a perfect round, about three inches in diameter.
I went back to the house, located my Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds, and quickly found out that small, flat-headed grasshopper sparrows lay four to five creamy white, speckled eggs in well-concealed ground nests where I live; and although wide-spread, they tend to be secretive and therefore, often overlooked.
An image of the full-bellied snake floated through my head, and I contemplated that likely the snake had found the nest before I did. I felt a little sorry for the mama sparrow. But then again, the snake was probably happily basking in the sun somewhere.
For a moment I thought it might have been better to have discovered the nest just before the snake did and have chased it away. But it’s probably good I didn’t because when I try to fix things out of my control, I end up making things worse, only to feel guilty or sad that I just didn’t leave well enough alone, especially with the natural order of things.
“The best thing we can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.” Henry Wadsworth
How did you find solace this week?
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