Nature keeps teaching me stuff. I hope I’m listening.
I live in a condo in Belmont, Ontario. It’s a separate building that backs onto a farmer’s field. I love being here. Last fall, our builder planted deciduous trees at the back, one for each home. Mine is about 12 feet tall.
Just outside my bedroom window, I have two bird feeders – one with nyjer seed for finches and the other with sunflower seeds for everybody else. I love hearing the birds in the early morning and seeing them crowd around the feeders. There is even a crew of mourning doves that rummage on the ground for stray seeds. They’re all family to me.
The last three days, however, it feels like my family has gone on vacation. I haven’t seen a single bird at the feeders. Some folks hang out on the bare branches but they keep their distance. And I get to watch my mind.
1. “There are more birdies on the neighbours’ tree than on mine.”
2. “Something is wrong with the seed. Maybe it got wet in all that rain.”
3. “The birds like the neighbours’ seed better than mine. I probably made a poor selection.”
4. “They’ll never come back. My family is broken apart.”
5. “It just goes to show you that things don’t work out in life.”
Oh, Bruce. Such a Negative Nester you are. Didn’t you just spend three months at a meditation retreat, sharpening up your mind? Well … yes I did. But sometimes my thoughts still carry me away.
Much of the retreat was about letting go of things and people that I thought I needed to glom onto. A birdless feeder is simply another teacher.
Can I be happy even if the birds don’t come back? > Yes
Did I do something bad that caused the birds to go away? > No
How about if I put new nyjer seed in the feeder and see what happens? > Yes
Do I really want to tie myself in knots whenever something goes wrong? > No
Can I control what other beings do? > No
Can I let go of all this angst? > Yes
Good. Now go to bed and sleep like a baby.