Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Blessing Life



I spend a lot of time at the kitchen table these days.  It sits by the patio door which offers a wonderful view of the back yard and the critters out there.  We have a couple of rabbits that we release to the yard as soon as the garden is in.  They like spending the winter out of the hutch and we like watching them romp around in the snow.  They dig themselves a burrow during the fall and trim back the lawn and perennials for us.

When the snow falls we go back to feeding them, so they come to the patio for some hay and rabbit pellets.  I also love to feed the wild bird once the snow falls.  I suppose they find it harder to find food when everything's covered with snow.

This year I bought a one gallon black rubber bowl to set out.  The animals can manage by eating snow, but I suppose it consumes a lot of energy.  I set out the bowl yesterday and with the sun on it the water never froze until sunset.  Apparently the black rubber absorbs the sun's heat and keeps the water from freezing.  This was a surprise as the temperature was below zero all morning and after four hours it still hadn't frozen.

The rabbits and birds love having water to drink!

In just 24 hours we've seen Starlings, Eurasian Collared Doves, Juncos and House Finches.  I'm also tossing some cracked corn out in hopes of attracting quail.

There was a time when I wanted to possess these creatures, an others.  At one time or another I've had Chinchillas, an Iguana, dogs, cats, turtles and tortoises, lizards, horses, parakeets, fish, and hedgehogs.  Somehow, the act of caging, penning, leashing, corralling and otherwise controlling their lives became unpleasant for me.  I keep the rabbits only because I don't want to eat them and don't know what else to do with them.  It is painful to put them back in the hutch in the Spring.  I don't think they'll be replaced when they're gone.

Yesterday while watching the menagerie outside the patio door Sarah, the neighbor's cat showed up.  My first reaction was to case her off with extreme prejudice.  I don't want her eating my birds, now do I?  Then I noticed Bandit take notice as well.  Bandit is my grand kid's dog.  He and they live right behind us.  For days I have watched Bandit guard his dog dish.  The doves and starlings have been busy helping themselves to his food and he has been busy chasing them off.  He is mostly Great Pyrenees with a little Australian Shepherd mixed in.  Might even be 50/50 but mostly he got the great genes.  He spends his days supervising the rabbits from his side of the chain-link fence.  Now he's a bit frustrated that he can't chase the birds away from the feeders.  He was really frustrated that Sarah could prance around over here with such impunity.

Anyway, decided if I was about blessing life, I shouldn't be prejudiced toward Sarah.  She needs to eat too. I've always known that when you feed birds you are setting the table for cats and hawks and falcons.  It's just the way of things.  I decided I want to be about blessing life, not fixing it.  So Sarah is just as welcome as the birds are.  She's also a bit frustrated because Bandit's bark is certainly fair warning for the birds and her prospects are pretty slim as Bandit is vigilant in spades.  So, it all works out.  The rabbits have company.  The birds have food.  Sarah has a challenge.  And Bandit, who is a working dog, has a job.

The interesting thing is how I feel.  Emancipating myself from the task of fixing things has freed me up to a lot more pleasure observing how things turn out in my little back yard.  Now, I still wonder about an intruder far more distasteful and sinister than Sarah.  I have a great distaste for Starlings.  We'll have to see if I can make room in my heart to be willing to bless them too.  Oh look!  There's one now!  Getting a drink.  Bandit has him pretty jumpy....so far so good.

I fell asleep last night thinking about this business of blessing life instead of fixing it.  I think it may very well apply to my relationships with people as well as critters.  I think I just might be learning to quit trying to control things.  Life naturally has balance and things usually settle out as God intended.  I've just got to let go and let that happen.  Something tells me things will just work out better if I will stop trying to fix life and simply observe it, love it and bless it where I can.

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