We live in a hedge. At our new house our whole property is enclosed in a hedge no lie. Our cat was used to having a front and back yard to call her territory with all of the neighborhood animals and people walking by for endless entertainment and excitement. Not in the new hedge. And to make things worse, we live on a busy street and in Coyote territory. So, kitty isn’t even allowed outside. So far it has been a bit of a snooze.
But this week we had a full-blown drama unfold. The mockingbird babies were leaving their nest. Yep. It was time to learn to fly. Mom and dad mockingbird were experiencing the ultimate test of their short life span. Their mission: to ensure the survival of their bloodline.
What I didn’t expect was the harsh reality of how scary and hard this rite of passage really is for these sturdy vocal creatures.
This morning the usual hum of traffic was interrupted by frantic squawks. As I looked out the bedroom window, where our cat’s perch overlooked the driveway I saw a round ball in the grass that could have been a mouse or rat. It was a baby mockingbird. Mom and dad were swooping and yelling from the rooftop of the neighbor’s house to distract any voyeurs from their precious baby. “Man down!” I heard in their cries. The neighbor’s cat in the upstairs window was taunted by all of the commotion. My cat was missing the whole thing. She had chosen the perch in the living room next to my piano. It is quite “Zen” there. But here in the back of the house, my heart was racing and cheering for the baby bird to find a way to use its wings to take off and save its life. Time was of the essence.
I watched as one parent made a noisy distraction away from the scene while the other swooped down to give it’s baby a morsel of food. Strangely, that only happened once. The rest of the time both parents beckoned to the baby from roof and fence top. It was as if they were saying, “We can’t do this for you. We can’t lift you up. You must find it within yourself to launch from the ground on your own.” They squawked and beckoned relentlessly. They no longer came down to feed or help him. But they did not leave him.
Right before we had to leave for a Karate lesson, I saw the baby bird hopping and trying to flap his wings. We had to drive the car right by him and with hopeful hearts and sacred space held firmly in our thoughts, we drove away from our hedge-lined sanctuary.
An hour later we returned and he was not there. We would like to believe that he must have gotten the courage to get “out of Dodge” before that big motor thing drove by again.
Oh the life lessons that flooded my consciousness. The mom and dad birds were not “enablers”. They knew that if the baby was to survive, he had to do it on his own. And in reality, it is true that no one can walk your path for you. And what is more, what fun would that be?
And of flying… it is scary! It is HARD! We have to keep trying. Sometimes we will end up a sitting duck on the ground. Failure to fly is crashing down to the ground with no clue as to how to defy gravity. It is under grace if we land on a patch of secure ground in a protected hedge, where cats can only stalk their prey from behind the glass of a window.
I have decided that I am that baby bird. I have spent years healing from past flying failures and gearing up for my next big flying test. I am blessed to have been under the love and support of an epic amazing husband. My family and my family of friends are poised on that rooftop squawking and cheering me on. They can only love me. They cannot even begin to know how to help me walk my path. That is my job to know. And now that I do, it is my job to walk the path, run the path. I happen to know deep within my being that I was meant to fly.
If I didn’t pay attention to the scene that was being played out in that patch of grass inside the hedge, I might have missed the message that was meant for me. It is time to fly.
By the way, if you look up the lifespan of a bird, you will learn that their goal is to make it through one whole year. In that year, they hatch. They get nurtured and fed by mom and dad in the nest. They learn to fly. They FLY! They soar. They SING! They find a mate and build their own nest. It is the circle of life. We have a lot more time than they could ever imagine. But they sure make the most of every precious moment.
It is time to FLY, SOAR and SING!