Yes, I can see it now. My husband will be standing in front of me waiting for that huge pat on the shoulder. I would say belly rub, but he gets very sensitive about me using that term. Not sure if it’s because of the dog reference or because his belly is fully large enough for a good rub. Anyway, I digress…
This past week my husband was able to make a quick trip home for a few days before heading back out to sea on another ever-so adventurous trip patrolling our waters. Every time my husband returns home he has a ritual. He denies it, but this absolutely happens:
- As we pull in to the drive way he is in immediate bliss at finally being home, much like being at peace.
- He inspects the bird feeders, which are never full when he returns.
- He makes his round inside the house, ensuring all is safe and that no major work is required during his stay.
- He looks out the window, checking out the bird feeders again. He will mention that he must make a trip to the local feed store – this happens within 15 minutes of being home.
- As I am known to keep our kitchen counter full of clutter during his time away, he’ll make note to clean it up. This, in my opinion, is pointless. I can guarantee you I’ll be back to stacking up the mail, keeping the kids Ovaltine, and any other non-perishable food item at arms length. He fails to see that a trip down to the basement is like taking a trip across town… I won’t do it unless I absolutely have to.
- My husband will say, “Did you feed the birds while I’ve been gone?” My standard response is always, “No. They’re fine”
- His mind is now turning, almost panic stricken. Finally he says, “I’ve got to feed the birds.”
- Forget bringing in his sea bag full of dirty laundry. Forget taking a nice hot shower after days on end in a steel box. Forget sitting down and just relaxing for a change.
- Darling husband is out the door to save his wild birds from absolute despair… he is headed to the feed store.
- A half hour later a 50-lb bag of sunflower seed sits in the back of his truck… along with some suet and corn for the squirrels .
Did you notice the common theme of the list above? It’s all about the birds.
During his recent trip back home I nagged him about this ritual. After a few minutes of vehemently denying that steps 1 – 10 actually occur, he finally caved. Once he acknowledged his ritual, he proceeded to tell me how important it was to feed the birds. As he rambled on and on I looked out the window, I thought to myself, “what is it about those darn birds?” I’ll tell you what it is…
Wild birds are an integral part of the ecosystem and serve many important purposes. Here are some of them:
- Insect and rodent population control
- Distribution of seeds that leads to forest conservation
- Food sources for bird predators (I’m not too keen on this thought, but that is the natural cycle of life)
Birds are one of the most populous life forms on the planet, and that biodiversity leads to a richness of life and beauty. The incredible numbers of bird species demonstrate amazing evolutionary adaptations, even back to the early dinosaur days. And although I am not an avid bird watcher they teach us how to adapt throughout the world. And this, in turn, can teach us how we can begin to adapt our own behaviors to live in our world, rather than to force our world into an artificial and unsustainable mold.
When we first moved in to our home not a single bird visited us. It was a shame, especially since we are surrounded by trees and have an excellent location for birds to come and visit. My husband kindly reminds me of this at least once a month. Since the day we moved here my husband has loyally kept the birds fed. And if a storm is approaching you can be sure those birds have a stockpile of seed outside for them to bring home.
Throughout the years I’ve seen many different birds visit our home. From pesky blue jays, chickadees, wood peckers, morning doves, cardinals, orioles, finches, rose breasted grosbeaks, brown creepers, hummingbirds, hawks, owls, and even the simple sparrow. And my most favorite of them all… the pileated woodpecker.
It’s early morning, and the sun just came up. My husband has been gone for a couple days now, but the feeders are still full. I figure in another week when I look outside the feeders will be empty. It will be at that moment when I will finally cave in and make that trek to the feed store.
I can hear the birds singing already.