The trees of the Lord are well watered,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
There the birds make their nests;
the stork has its home in the junipers.
The high mountains belong to the wild goats;
the crags are a refuge for the hyrax.
- Psalm 104:16-18
Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
“I find no pleasure in them” …
when the doors to the street are closed
and the sound of grinding fades;
when people rise up at the sound of birds,
but all their songs grow faint;
when people are afraid of heights
and of dangers in the streets;
when the almond tree blossoms
and the grasshopper drags itself along
and desire no longer is stirred.
Then people go to their eternal home
and mourners go about the streets.
- Ecclesiastes 12:1, 4-5
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
- Matthew 6:25-26
Editor’s Note: This story happened about how it is described, without the music and dialogue. While this story happened only a few weeks ago, the photo is a couple of years old.
Writer’s Note: I contend that this story is true. The dialogue and background music may have been inside my head, but the rest is true. I must dedicate the story to my brother-in-law, who has a birthday about this time every year. Over the years, he told some amazing stories and my mother always laughed. Funny, she never laughed at mine, but she might say to my wife, “Does he run a fever with these fits?!”
The other day, I was looking out the sliding glass door, beyond the porch and into the yard. There was a commotion. Two fully grown robins were fighting to see who was the toughest. Who was the top dog? Or should that be top robin? Their beaks were wide open, and they got close to each other, but each robin waited to the other to strike first. I pictured a film of puppies that were play fighting.
Then, the movie changed. Ominous music began to play. A third bird had arrived, a grackle, about three feet away in grass that was a little taller. Now, on our back porch, without a cedar of Lebanon for the birds to nest in, they nest in our rafters. I have written about how a grackle had raided one of the robin nests. I saw the evidence last year with broken robin eggshells on the porch. I also wrote about how the grackles were leaving their droppings on the SUV – less now than before.
But here, while one robin starts eating something, the other robin looks at the grackle. I was seeing an old Western, High Noon, maybe Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. There were so many with a tense gunfight scene. It was as if a Frankie Laine song was softly playing, then the mood gets darker in the music. Maybe the robin is thinking, “You killed my Ma and some of my brothers and sisters. Now it’s your turn to die.”
The grackle finds something to eat, and he buries his head in the high grass. The robin approaches. He lifts his left leg, twists his body to the right, and then plants the leg. <ching> Okay, he isn’t wearing spurs, but if this movie had a soundtrack, each step would be accented by the jingle of the spurs. The grackle kept eating. The robin lifts his right leg and nearly turns his body completely around to take a large step toward the grackle. <ching> Then the robin leaps. <cha-ching>
Now the person splicing the film goes crazy. Another grackle enters the scene, maybe a dive bomber from Tora, Tora, Tora. The new grackle swoops down to protect the grackle that was eating, but no contact is made. Just a strafing run. The grackle flies to a cable company wire in the backyard. Now, we were back to the Western again.
The first grackle continues to eat. The robin takes another step. <ching> Another. <ching> Another hop. <cha-ching>. The robin has taken over a minute to get two thirds of the way. He is only one foot away from pouncing on the unsuspecting grackle. The ominous music is getting louder. Then suddenly, the grackle looks up from his eating to look around.
The scene shifts to the point in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where King Arthur has ordered the knights of the roundtable to attack a fluffy bunny rabbit and the bunny rabbit has bested them. King Arthur yells, “Run away! Run away!” That must have been what happened because the robin, about twice as big as the grackle (maybe a young grackle), sees that the grackle has seen him, and he turns and hop, hop, hippity hop, the robin makes tracks running past the other robin. I could hear the line found in many horror movies involving a monster. The robin who was ignoring the action while eating says, “You can’t run faster than the monster!” To which the gunslinger robin replies, “All I have to do is run faster than you!!”
But the grackle does not give chase. He looks around. He says, “The food in this restaurant is pretty good, but the clientele are crazy! I’m outta here.” He flies off to a tree in the neighbor’s yard. After a few seconds, the robins fly off in the opposite direction.
In the end, it was Much Ado about Nothing. The robin who ignored the smaller grackle became top robin simply by “standing his ground.” The grackle had a good meal. And in the end, no feathers went flying.
While God may provide for the birds, the birds can provide us with a lot of entertainment.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.