At 6 am it was much too early for a phone call. Only someone with bad news would be on the other end. I bolted upright and grabbed the receiver.
“I haven’t slept all night,” my friend Pammy whispered. “They’re tearing down the cabin any minute and I need you to help me save a bird’s nest that’s tucked in the rafters. It’s bad luck, you know, to knock something down that bears new life inside of it.”
“Huh?” I said, wondering why someone more practical than superstitious would be fussing over such a thing. Reluctantly, I hopped out of bed, pulled on my sweats, and headed over to the piece of property she and her newly retired husband bought which included a ramshackle cabin that would cost more to restore than save.
As I pulled into her driveway, so did the bull dozer. With little or no time to spare, we rushed inside the cabin, grabbed a chair to stand on, reached for the nest, and found three baby birds chirping away as their panicked mother flew the coop. Removing the nest from its perch, we placed it outside on a tree branch far from the impending chaos and then stood back, as the bulldozer lifted it’s enormous fork and plunged it into the roof. Two more stabs and the cottage crumbled.
“The builder told us that the foundation would never hold a new structure,” Pammy explained, a touch of melancholy in her voice. “Without a good foundation I suppose nothing works. Still, we managed to salvage a few things, you know, to keep the history of the place alive—like this enamel table, some stones from the fireplace, and that wonderful old sink that Ted wants installed at his outdoor cook center. Otherwise, the place has outlived its usefulness.”
The word outlived coupled with random thoughts of the bird’s nest got me thinking. In trying to save the situation, my friend and I– mothering mothers that we are—didn’t think twice before jumping in to “save a nest,” forgetting in our haste that merely touching it would keep the mother from returning forever. Our coming to the rescue was unsolicited as it has been so many times for me when I have meddled in my grown children’s lives only to make matters worse instead of better.
Once again, I’ve received another lesson about the “nature” of things. It’s best that I stick to feathering my own nest.