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Sunday, April 22, 2007


White Crowned Sparrow eggs .08" (21 mm)

On the day I posted the last blog, I went out to the front bank where the white crowned sparrows nest every year, where we last weekend rushed to get it cleared and planted before they nested once again and saw to my chagrin, that my husband had cut the ornamental grass on the bank with a chain saw. It exposed in the center crown of the plant 2 pale blue (as the Northwest overcast sky) eggs, mottled with red brown specks, White crowned sparrow eggs. It has disturbed me all week.

From the fall of man and resultant banishment from the first garden there have been boundary disputes. When man and woman decided that they wanted to test their independence from God, “I’ll do it do it myself, thank you, don’t need your rules” kind of attitude the original boundary was crossed, the curse was given - conflict between man and woman. My husband tests the boundaries forever; I try to hold them, and dispute and the curse reigns especially in the garden. I want wildflowers and meadow, he wants manicured lawn. I want wild, untamed, a place for birds to nest, he wants it to “look good.” Anything that looks dead, even though is it just resting for the winter needs to be ripped out. I like shovels, he likes backhoes, I like wheelbarrows not tractors; hand pruners and peace and quiet, not the roar of a chainsaw.

When we first bought our place in the islands, it already had the curse. From the front of the nothing-to-look-at house to the water was what you didn’t want to look at, eroded land, large gullies carved in the clay, no vegetation in its path, except to the side, two hills of top soil that the previous owner scraped off the land, presumably to get a better view. And when they got the view of eroded land, they moved on. The first thing we did was try to heal the ravaged land. We put down protective nets, bought from a specialist in erosion control. We moved some dirt in and seeded it and the damage stopped and a field started to grow. But then my husband wanted to be able to mow it and couldn’t easily because of the slope, so we consulted a friend to help us terrace the front with three flat terraces and sloping banks in between. On the topmost bank we planted deer resistant ceanothus, rosemary, lavender, nepeta, barberry and ornamental grasses which grew lovely. We came to an agreement on the lower banks and the meadow. He would mow a path along the terraces; the rest would continue to be tall grass where the deer could hide until mowed in late July.

As a result of the curse, even the land no longer stays where it is put. The field grass has raced into the former border bank of rosemary and lavender, nepeta and ceanothus which now looks again like a meadow but with some indistinguishable heads of plants sticking through. The bank has long been a successful nesting site for white crowned sparrows. Because they arrive to breed successfully every spring through early summer from Mexico or Arizona to the same spot, I let it alone. If I wait until late summer to clear it, the soil is too dry and we were not around for the fall months, or the ground, or I outside, too frozen in winter. Although I like the look of abandonment here and there, blending in with the weeded, this bank had been too abandoned for too many years. So last weekend with the WC Sparrow’s arrival, singing loudly in a nearby bush, I decide now is the time to reclaim boundaries between the grass and the border. Because of the urgency of nesting timing, I ask a friend to help me weed and my husband to help edge the lawn, cart off the pulled weeds and grass, and bring in some enriched dirt, compost, for planting. That may have been the mistake. I had been for years defending it for the birds sake being careful where I work and here in one swoop of a chain saw, gone. Unprotected when they thought they were safely hidden in the center of the miscanthus.

My first reaction was anger. I’ve spent my energy preserving habitat so I could help birds be fruitful and multiply as commanded by God and here in one swoop, my husband who knows my focus for the bank, cuts down the grass when I was not looking. Since he had left from town when I discovered it I had time to think about this. I thought of the effort for birds to long distance fly to and nest on our bank and defend the territory, mate and finding a readymade nest in the middle of the miscanthus, the head start on a brood, now is abandoned. I don’t know how I could have protected it more. What can I learn from this? Because I noticed the cut to the ground miscanthus and eggs just hours after posting my last blog, I believe you, God, have another message for me or for me to remember - again how much you God love people even more than birds. Perhaps you God, unbeknownst to my husband, had him do this for my benefit. By your grace, I forgive my husband.1 You taught me that you, God, are sovereign and nothing passes by you without your knowledge. You had me see this for another reason and I think it has to do with blogging.

Help me face my fears of being out there, exposed, feeling vulnerable when I do a “risky” blog. I put in a lot of work, just to be out there out in the sun for the “world” to see rather undercover, hidden in a drawer. It is a beginning, not hatched yet and maybe never hatched because the bird will not come back. Am I the bird who will not come back, quitting the blog because I feel exposed? Or will you, God, continue to help me write and hover over this beginning shell of a message and hatch it yourself in time?
1. Ephesians 4:32

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