Monday, June 18, 2007

What Worry Is

Yesterday I was determined to clean out the bluebird box. House wrens had come and dropped into it about a half a pound of sharp twigs, for reasons of their own, all the way up to the entry. It's a habit of theirs, and I watched them do it, worrying. The wrens are handsome birds, but have long sharp beaks, and -- who knows why -- if they find a box with a bluebird nest and babies, and feel mean or territorial, will stick their heads inside and kill each baby with a peck to the head.

This is nature and I can't do anything to stop it.

I knew that if I wanted bluebirds to use the box as their home again, I had to take the box off its post, open it, and clean out the twigs. I didn't want to. I was afraid -- I worried -- that beneath the twigs, in the bluebird's teacup-sized nest, always made of yellow grass, I would find dead and rotting baby bluebirds. This would fill me with grief and horror; I love bluebirds, would see a dead nestful of them as tragic, and I have a horror of creatures that are dead and rotting. I can't even take a dead mouse from a trap.

So I prepared the soap and bleach to clean out the box. Then I opened it, and pried the twigs out, trying not to look more deeply inside. Eventually the teacup nest came out. It was clean. There were no bodies. The bluebirds born in that nest had lived and fledged.
I was relieved and wondered, why did I worry? Think of the mental energy I wasted worrying! I filled and blocked my own mind with sharp twigs!

Still -- some worrying must surely be natural. Soon after removing the bluebird house from its post, I saw the male bluebird himself standing on the post, puzzled, looking around for his familiar house. He was worried! "I'm going to clean it," I said to him. "Once that is done, you can raise another bunch of babies in it. Trust me, your box will be back up today..."

Worry is nothing but a lack of trust. That's why it feels so awful to worry; it's a lack. Worry is powerful; if it were a drug it would be prescription only -- and habit-forming and dangerous.

1 comment:

Paula said...

Ah! Worry! My loyal companion! We should take note of the wisdom in Anne of Green Gables: "Don't meet the Devil half way."! Regards Paula