When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Life among the branches

You would think that once the cold autumn winds blew away the last of the leaves clinging to the trees in the neighbourhood, there wouldn't be much to look up at and admire anymore.  I discovered this week that I was wrong to think that way when I noticed a collection of nests of various shapes and sizes scattered throughout the limbs of one particular tree just down the street from our house.  To examine one nest up close is always a thing of wonder.  Looking at the intricately woven patterns of sticks and grass, leaves and mud, it's incredible to imagine how such small creatures were able to create something so delicate-looking and beautiful, yet strong and safe, using only the things they could find in nature.  But seeing multiple nests made by various birds and rodents, all set so closely together in one tree, struck me as being remarkable and filled my mind with questions.  How were creatures who likely had different habits and preferences able to live harmoniously in such close proximity to one another?  Did they consider how their actions would impact the other creatures who shared their tree, and if there was conflict, did they somehow know how to compromise?  Was there an inherent trust between the critters who found themselves living in the same environment, and did they somehow understand that all of the tree's families deserved to seek shelter, eat, raise their babies, live day-to-day in the ways each of them knew were best for them?  Did the critters ignore each other for the most part, or did they offer a kind of support for each other when any of them were in need?

The experiences of the creatures who made their home in that tree were hidden from us all summer long by the lush green leaves that provided them with shade and security.  We can never know how exactly those birds and squirrels lived when they occupied their various, closely-knit nests. I like to imagine that in their own ways, the critters that shared the world of that tree existed peacefully, accepted and respected each other's differences, lived in mutually beneficial ways, and knew that ultimately, they all shared the same basic needs and desires. It gives me hope that we humans all have it in us to do the same.

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