WE’VE BEEN IN THE MOUNTAINS for a few days while we get something-or-other done with the old oil tank that came with our new (old) mountain house. It’s a weekend place high in the Blue Ridge in North Carolina, and to date we’ve spent many happy hours working to get things in shape to suit us. This morning I washed up and rearranged as Tim took to the great outdoors, his might spent pushing a giant bushwacker through the jungled meadow that serves as our back yard. In the front, he changed to a super-sized weedeater, falling the mass of weeds that has overtaken the front, sides and back of our non-landscaped lot. It tickled me to watch him stomp around out there. It delighted me as well, as there was instant gratification for both of us in his work.
Then he surprised me at the side door.
You’re gonna wanna see this, he said, and so I followed.
OUR HOUSE IS BUILT into the side of the mountain, the driveway nearly at roof height with a slope and steps that lead to the low front door. The front of the house–all the way across–faces that slope, with a small covered porch that separates the structure from the land. It also serves as our exterior walkway–a route we take regularly. A bit of neglect and a healthy Spring had left the slope significantly overgrown and caused one to wonder–which I did quite verbally–what all might be slithering around beneath those small thickets.
And he had gone to town cleaning it up, my sweet husband, whacking it down with a wild abandon that belied any worry of snake-ige hiding there.
There were other tasks that needed doing (aka clearing parts of the meadow) and so he moved on. A couple of hours later he came around the house’s corner to find me. I followed him to the porch and we stood there together, staring at that cleared slope.
What is it, I said, not seeing.
There, he said. Look there.
Not four feet in front of us was this.
Exposed but miraculously unharmed was a most perfect ground nest of tiny baby birds. And they were hungry.
Mama and Papa hovered about.
They were both a little squeamish (who can blame?) but fully intent on feeding their babies.
We stood there for the longest while watching the action, thinking what a joy it was see this up close, right at eye level. Thinking how profound it is the babies survived at all, what with the stomping around and the–heaven forbid–whirring of that weed wacker.
They are our four little treasures, that’s for sure, a sweet bird family welcoming us to the mountains and reminding us once again:
Miracles happen every day.
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