Considering myself now finished clearing the front and back of all that is evil in my own little world -- that's poison oak and ivy and rocks and fallen branches not the big evils of the world in general -- I am now in a position to tidy things up. Finding a spot of time Sunday, having toiled all Saturday outdoors, I took my little clippers to a big tree on the hill which remained entwined with ivy. The ivy pisses me off for reasons I'm not entirely sure of. [Apologies, dear Mom, for using the "p" word. I know how much it rankles you, but it fits here.]
Me, my gloves and my little clipper attack the ivy wrapping the stately tree. I get two minutes worth of work into it, and I come across a little bird's nest with four gorgeous eggs in it. "Frick, drat, darn," I think to myself. [Okay, not really, fill in the real words I'd be using.] "I've just sentenced four birds to certain death because I've uncovered their hidden nest."
That was mistake number one.
Mistake number two was carrying the nest down to show Daughter, who was immediately enthralled and in love and in a nurturing state. She would see to it that nothing came near the nest and its treasure, which I tried my damnedest to return to its previous covert status. She created a sign on big yellow paper which we nailed to the tree:
4 new lifes [sic]
She checked it once after we'd put it back. No human hands ever touched a damn thing, I swear. I had my gloves on and wouldn't let the kids touch the nest. Everything was A-OK that first check.
The second check she gave, still everything was A-OK. She escorted our dinner guests up the hill to see our hidden treasure. Being a second grade teacher and her beloved, they made appropriate murmurs of awe.
The third check proved disastrous. The nest was upended. The branches hiding it were scattered. The eggs were gone.
Daughter was bereft, as any overdramatic 9-year-old sensitive girl would be. We searched through the ivy, hoping against hope to find the eggs.
We didn't. The eggs are surely in the belly of some creature. We all have our individual suspicions. [I suspect mutton-head as I have been feeding her "Begging Strips" that I got on sale. And we all know how well eggs go with bacon.]
Pete said the birds who made the nest would never use it again. He suggested Daughter bring the nest inside and keep it in her room. Amidst sobs and tears, that's exactly what she did, also taking care to tape over the "4" on the bright yellow sign with a "0."
She wanted to nurture those creatures, to watch over them, to protect them. But she couldn't. Some things you can't stop. Some things you can't control.
I know that. It's why my prayers each night include, "Thank you, Lord, for these children. Keep them safe and healthy and happy and free from harm."