We currently live in Central Minnesota where there are over 10,000 lakes, bitter cold winters and an abundance of wildlife. Although the temperatures and weather forecast do not show any signs of spring, my backyard tells a different story.
About the middle of March, birds begin returning to the towering trees outside our windows. I hear them singing in the early morning, watch them eat from the bird feeder and peck at the frozen ground for worms. We have beautiful cardinals, blue jays, sparrows, bald eagles, and red-crested woodpeckers that call our backyard home. We also have giant black crows which I refer to as the “bullies” of the neighborhood. They are loud, obnoxious and will dominate the birdfeeder at any given time.
However, it is these birds that have received most of my attention the past two weeks. The crows, two in particular, have been extremely busy and active in gathering twigs, leaves and tall grass to build a nest in a pine tree high above our deck. Each day, I watch them diligently choose long, brown weeds and tree branches left over from last fall. They seem to be taking such pride and joy in their nest, along with safety precautions to protect their newborn babies from harm.
It’s not just the birds who are providing their newborns with a warm safe haven this spring. This morning, my husband and our two dogs were abruptly woken up by the incredibly high, shrill sound of a fox in distress. At first we thought it was a mating call, which she did attract at least one other fox, but then after further investigation and an actual sighting, we realized she was protecting her litter from a juvenile bear. As you can imagine, this caused quite the ruckus inside our home with dogs barking and running from window to window. I am normally not thrilled about the fox family inhabiting the empty lot across the street from us, but today I found myself empathizing with the mama fox. She was doing what most mothers (and fathers) do. Protect your children from harm…..
It was twenty-five years ago exactly that my husband and I were “nesting” and expecting the arrival of our first child. We didn’t have a lot of money, but we busily painted the spare bedroom yellow, put up a generic teddy bear wallpaper border, bought a baby crib and called it a nursery. We relied mostly on baby shower gifts to complete the rest of the necessities needed for a newborn. We were so proud of our “nest” and couldn’t wait to bring home our new baby from the hospital.
Much like the wildlife living outside my home, it was our job to provide a warm, loving and nurturing place for our kids to grow, learn, and feel protected. We provided shelter, food, guidance and most of all love. As a parent, you try your best to teach them right from wrong, good from evil, and the consequences of bad decisions. Most parents, I believe, just want their children to grow up to be happy, healthy and productive citizens. We want what’s best for our children and will go to any length possible to protect them. Much like the mother fox did today. She felt threatened and called in reinforcement. She was protecting her nest! It was her maternal instinct to protect her offspring and I respect her for it.
My kids are both grown now and living on their own. I’m proud to say they are happy, healthy and productive adults. However, at times the innate motherly instinct to protect my children still lingers. Much to their dismay, I can’t shake it! I wonder if the black crows, the mama fox, even the mother bear realize their babies grow up and will some day leave the nest…. Hopefully, their children will know their mothers did everything in her power to protect them, love them and keep them safe.
I pray mine do!
“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.”
~ Agatha Christie