birds' nest, possums, and other treasures

Do you ever have a magical moment of clarity? I had one of those tonight, a brief flash of recognition that there is something truly lovely about my rather unremarkable little family. It happened when I remembered suddenly a brief little interaction between my husband, my 21 year old daughter, and myself this afternoon. I had related to them a little incident that happened at work today. My client had stopped in for a few minutes and on her way out asked about the status of the painters who were working on the premises. As she stepped out onto a balcony to check their progress she commented to me that the birds had built another nest. I wondered aloud if they were swallows, so she called me out to have a look. There, on top of a fixture on the wall was a nest of sticks and grass - not a swallow's nest, but so sweet. She then announced that this will already be the third one she'd have to tear down from that same spot this spring....

At this point of the story, both Paul and Gina's eyes grew big. They both gasped the same little gasps. In that moment we three were a single broken heart. Each one of us would have viewed that little nest, were it under the eaves of our house, as a gift, a visitation. In that little moment I caught a reminder of what a blessing it is to be a part of a family where life is treasured, compassion is valued, and the weak are protected - a house where every inhabitant has agreed that the possum living in the wall behind the bathtub and doing no harm whatsoever should be allowed to remain in peace. How thankful I am that our home is a place of safety and protection for all sorts of vulnerable beings...not the least of which is me.


Miranda said…
I love this post. Thank you for the reminder. I would feel the same way about the birds nest. The possum?? Maybe not so much. When I was a kid, there was a possum that slept beneath the house right under where my bed was. I could hear him snoring at night. It still gives me the chills.
Karin said…
Awww - what a special post! Love the birds nest - as long as it was not in harms way! I would probably, however, call the wild life department to relocate the possum! Right now we have Mr. and Mrs. Goose living on the 15 story apartment building waiting for their offspring to be born. The nearest water is about 2 miles away! I wonder why they chose this place to nest. I fear for them - but wild life staff will attempt to move them one the little goslings are born.
Laurie M. said…
Well ladies, I had a feeling the possum would raise comments, but I didn't feel like making it part of the post.

The thing is, we tried to deal with the possum initially by renting a trap, which captured every cat in a square mile radius at least once, but no possum. We returned the trap and called animal control, who informed us in no uncertain terms that they don't do possums and that the only legal way to dispose of one is to call the county trapper. They also informed us that it is not only illegal for US to trap and relocate a possum, but that it is also illegal for the county trapper to do so. He is required by law to "dispatch" it. In other words our options for the wee beastie are either to kill it or to keep it.

Since I've actually seen where it sleeps, know what it sleeps on (a plastic grocery bag - no idea how that got in the wall, btw), have even made eye contact with the little guy/gal, and know it's not doing any damage to anything. We've decided to let him/her live.

When this saga first began, we thought we were dealing with a large rat. I won't tolerate rodents, since they chew wiring, etc. My intent was to poison it, which is how we ultimately found out it wasn't a rat. I opened the plumbing access hole in the wall, planning to drop in a rat bait, looked down and thought I saw a cat curled up...then it looked up! Ack! NOT a cat! So, that's when we started making the phone calls which led to our decision.

We can hear our possum quite often, but in the bathroom. For some reason, having "met" him makes me less nervous about him. Our pets get very interested though. They can hear him and smell him.

I hope your geese will be okay. I guess they know what they're doing right?
John said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said…
We leave the animals alone, too. I hate it when I see people tearing down the swallows' nests.

We did had to use a live trap to relocate a racoon from our attic. She was too noisy!
Laurie M. said…
Thanks for stopping by. We would not tolerate a raccoon either. They are pretty vicious - cute - but vicious. We get a lot of them around here and never cease to be delighted at a sighting. But we keep a healthy respect, and distance.
Anonymous said…

I have been enjoying your blog and I shared this story with my tenderhearted daughter.

We leave critters alone as well and try so hard to get occupants for our bluebird house. Last year we had tree swallows nest there and when their four chicks hatched we felt like new parents.
When magpies started harassing them we each stood watch when we could and shooed them away.

Unfortunately, one morning two chicks were murdered by the magpies and we were cut to the heart by the squeals of the babies.

This year our neighbors put one of those ugly plastic owls on their back porch to detract birds and, since it is in sight of our little bird house, there have been no interested birdies.

I think it probably for the best. I still get sick when I think about those baby chicks being attacked by the magpies.
thatmom said…
Laurie, how this post resonated with me! Right now I am waiting for the baby birds to grow up and leave the nests their mommies have made under our porch rafters. Some of them have found a way into the basement and we have to periodically shoo them out.

And the possum story....we had one who came in through the basement and found his way upstairs and into a cupboard in our library one year. My cat kept watching that cupboard intently but I never saw anything so ignore it. Then one evening while Clay and I were gone, we got a panicked phone call from my then 12 year old son who saw the possum scurry across the floor, under the desk, and into that cupboard. He was promptly captured and put back outside. A couple years later another one came in through the basement and up both the basement stairs and the stairs to the 2nd floor where he found refuge behind this same son's armoire in his room. Again he was captured but this time we drove him to the woods at the edge of town and came home to close up any hole in the basement we could find. So far so good but our house is 115 years old so it is bound to happen again!

My dad was so tenderhearted toward all animals and wildlife and it really was expressed in his compassion for other people. I think it say volumes about people who won't touch a feather on a bird's nest!
WhiteStone said…
My aunt, long deceased, when she caught spiders in the house would carry them outdoors and release them. Such a woman! tsk-tsk!
Laurie M. said…
Oh Judy...your aunt takes the cake. I show spiders no mercy other than to try to make their ends swift.

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