Between a hummingbird and a killdeer

I needed an early morning walk to clear my mind of months of clutter spinning dust circles behind my eyes and clogging filters that allow me to roam freely in the possible. The riverwalk in my town is full of magic in the sunrise. There’s the tree with the hummingbird atop an empty branch. A friend pointed that out weeks ago, and sure enough, she sits there, most likely near her nest.

For it is surely nesting season, full of hope and determined bird work to get ready. What brought me to the river was watching a robin take nesting material from the osprey nest in the camera focused there. Sadly, the ospreys are gone this season, the female unable to bond with a young male. But this bold robin has found a treasure trove of perfect nest lining.

Just in the corner of my eye, a killdeer stood eyeing me. We talked a bit and I continued along. The riverbank area is full of action: gathering, calling, chasing, mating, sitting, and waiting. Not controlled by a general on/off switch, the mating season is a cacaphony of birdsong and ruffling feathers, and of doin’ what comes naturally.

I feel honored to be allowed to walk in their demesne, a careful interloper at this time of renewal. This is not my place; I am just a guest here. It is not for me to judge or interfere in any way in the normal flow.

And so I walk, using all my senses to truly be here. Here is where I begin my day in thanks for the gifts we have before us — no pricetag or wrapping, just here for the wonder.

With the empty osprey nest to my back, I am reminded of the wise words of a leading scholar of ospreys, D. Rob Bierregaard.

“Remember that nature is not cruel. Being cruel implies intent to harm someone or something just to do harm. Nature is unforgiving, harsh, and often random. But it’s not cruel.”

And so, rather than mourn the loss of a magnificent osprey, I say “thank you” on behalf of the robin, the hummingbird and the killdeer. That’s the demonstration of pure hope I need.