Last week, a robin built her nest in a nook on my garage. I wonder if this is the same robin who had a nest there when I first moved into this house seven years ago. (I admit that I don’t know much about how long robins live or their behavior.)
I hadn’t noticed the nest at first. What I did notice was a cat casually strolling across the yard as if she owned the place. Of course, my dog owns the place and chased the cat away.
But the next day, the cat was back. Why? I wondered. And then I remembered those first few years I lived here, and how a cat would appear in May. My eye was drawn to the spot where a robin’s nest used to be—and there it was, a new nest.
I meant to take it down that day, but forgot, until I saw the cat again a few days later. By now, I fear the robin has laid eggs in the nest, and I won’t remove it for the sake of those eggs, but I am put out with her for choosing my garage for her nest, and I am annoyed with myself for not remembering to remove the nest.
I have nothing against robins (except that they will dive-bomb you if you come near their nests once the eggs are hatched). It is the cat coming into my yard that I mind, because it means my dog will be chasing it.
There is a domino effect in nature—the bird builds her nest and lays eggs, the cat comes around hoping for a baby bird, my dog chases the cat. Round and round they go. If I had removed the nest, the cat would not come, and my dog would not have to chase it away, and there would be no baby birds to worry about.
I am intrigued by the nature of these animals to do what they do, and if they were in the park and I only had to see them from a distance, I would be fine with it. But in my own back yard? I worry about the cat getting the baby birds and my dog catching the cat—and my dog getting the baby birds. Nature can be anxiety-producing.
All of this brought me to a deeper sense of how little control I have over what is happening in my yard. Nature is unfolding, and since I did not remove the nest, I can only watch it unfold—and try to let go of my anxiety over what will happen, let go of my sense of responsibility.
It reminds me of when the daffodils were already blooming, and it snowed. Nothing I could do about it, but I worried for the flowers and how they would survive. Of course, they were fine.
Nature has a way of accommodating and moving on that offers me lessons in letting go.
I have a lot to learn.
Madeline Bialecki grew up in Detroit and recently returned after living in Philadelphia for twenty-eight years. She began writing about her spiritual journey and faith life after the death of her best friend in 2012. She likes to read, knit, bake and garden. She shares her spiritual journey here.