Matfield Green - Our first years

Thursday, July 06, 2006


I took an early morning walk with a new client yesterday. On our way up into the hills we stopped in the garden. I showed her the larksparrow nest, so elegantly hidden among the watermelon leaves, and now full of three plump but tiny chicks. My client spoke of the hope she feels when she sees things like that in nature. So trusting. So unaware of all the turmoil of the world. I quoted Wendell Berry's "The Peace of Wild Things" who "do not tax themselves with forethought of grief." We went away happy knowing the baby sparrows were snug and well taken care of by mom and pop who kept watch from aperch the telephone wire.

Later, about 10 o'oclock, I was ranging around the place with Abby and Andrew, my niece and nephew who are visiting from Wisconsin and will be with us for 2 weeks. I stopped to show them the larksparrows and the nest was empty.

It's hard to believe that they were old enough to fly away. They could only have hatched 5 or 6 days before. And I think it was mom and dad sitting, again, on the wire. So I worry. I also wonder, do larksparrow parents grieve for baby chicks who may have been stolen awy by some mid-morning maraurder? Or do they simply start planning for the next batch? Perhaps it is a moment of surprise, a sharp pang of grief and then a profound type of letting go.


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