Saturday, May 29, 2010

Alas, the dream and romance sometimes goes awry

The robins have abandoned their nest on our front porch.

I haven't seen the female for two days. Bern tells me she saw the male in the yard yesterday but he isn't standing guard any more. Tomorrow, if she's not back, I'm going to take out the ladder and look in the nest. I haven't done it yet because I still hope she'll return. There are certainly no baby robins and I want to see if there were any eggs.

I wonder what happened. Did something happen to her? Did she realize her eggs, if there are any, weren't going to hatch? I have no idea about the nesting habits of robins, but something happened, something went wrong. I know just this week she was stoically on her nest and he was guarding it from the tree nearest the porch. He even buzzed me, about a yard above my head one day this week--a warning because I was looking at the nest and Mama bird too long.

I really was rooting for them. I was terrified that babies would be born and fall out onto our porch. I'd already planned to put cushions on the floor of the porch to protect them when they fell. I was already looking forward to the little noises the chicks would make and watching them be fed and waiting until they began to fly.

I don't think that will happen now and it crushes me. Something so hopeful that didn't come to fruition. How much hope we put into HOPE and the truth is this: lots of hopeful, romantic, lovely things end like this.

Something to ponder under your personal Castor oil tree--before Yahweh sends the worm to kill it and you have to wonder and ponder in the heat of the sun: how and when and why did hopeful things come to naught in your life?

I'm reminded of sitting by my mother's hospital bed when I was 25, praying in hope for her to wake up and live. And she didn't. And that was that.

It seems to me that hope is a vain and fragile thing, something as ephemeral as a feather, as light and fleeting as a breath, as difficult to hold on to as that dream you had a few nights ago that faded into nothingness when you woke up, as hard as you tried to keep it near.

And there is this: Hope and dream and romance are the meat and drink of our souls. We are waiting for the meal we imagined and longed for and thought we might have. And often it disappoints and fails us. Just like that.

But what else is there to feed us but Hope?

When we cease to cling to Hope, all is vanity and the world implodes and our lives are meaningless.

So, even as the robins leave, I cling to Hope. It is the only thing that keeps me above the waters of despair. Some would call it madness or self-deception. But without Hope, what is there?



There was a Nancy cartoon in my youth. Do you remember it--Nancy and Sluggo? If you remember you are 'of an age', if not, still this will make sense.

Nancy and Sluggo are outside in the snow. Sluggo says he loves winter because there are no bugs. "No gnats, no flies, no bees, no mosquitoes" he says.

Then the snow slips of the roof above him and he is covered.

"And no Sluggo," Nancy says....

I am afraid of the little moths we grew up calling 'millers'. They're the little brown ones, not the big ones, not the white Mayflies, not the Luna moths, none of those. I don't know their real name but I was taught to call them Millers. They flit and swoop and dive at your face if you are sitting in light. And they scare me so much I'll go inside.

I don't know why, they just do.

I should ponder that fear, wonder about it, and ponder the other things that frighten me.

Knowing what frightens you and, in some way, 'why', is a cool breeze on a hot day, a calming silence, something profound.

Ponder this: what frightens you...and why....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.