I was working in the yard again today. Yes, again. Today’s task was to cut back the giant shrubs on the side of the house. I cut them back once a year, basically using the loppers to reach as high as I can. Not the best method, as there are always some branches that are too high for me to get to. And of course, by the time they get that tall, the branch is also too thick for me to use loppers. I decided this was the year that I needed to get those tall branches. After all, some of them were reaching the second floor roof line, and nearing the power line into the house. Time to lop them off. The other day, in an act of desperation, I even tried to STAND in one of the shrubs in my quest to reach those pesky tall branches. Not one of my brightest moves. My foot slipped and I now have three nasty bruises on my thigh. I look like I have been mauled by some beast. And yes, I was holding the loppers – and yes, I do realize I was lucky to only receive some bruises…
This took me up to Home Depot to get one of those tree trimmers on a pole. EXCELLENT! So, today I was busily cutting away. I mean some of these branches were at least seven feet long! Whooo Hoooo! Mission accomplished!
In one of the taller branches (one directly outside my bedroom window), I found this:
It is gorgeous. Made completely of grasses. Intricately woven. Easily eight inches tall from its base to the rim. Inside as smooth as glass. I marveled at its complex simplicity. Then brought it in to the house for The Monkeys to see. My first thought was that we could save it to put in our Christmas tree (a tradition in my family since we found a nest in our tree one year). But, truly, this is a work of art. So the decision was made to let it dry out (we’ve had a LOT of rain and everything is wet) and display it in the house. As the art that it is.
I returned outside to continue working.
And there on the ground, right were I was working, were three little turquoise blue eggs.
Two of them had broken in the fall. The third was intact.
The guilt washed over me. That beautiful nest had been a home to these eggs, and I had destroyed them.
Of course, the teacher in me also found it a bit fascinating. I mean, you can see the little embryonic birds. But still. I feel bad.
So, I bring the eggs into the house to show The Monkeys.
The Girl Child had the kind of predictable response of “EEEEWWWWW!”
The Middle Monkey – my little scientist – observed them, poked at them, and simply said, “Huh.”
The response of Monkey #1 was perhaps the most interesting.
He felt sadness.
Sadness for the death of the little birds. Sadness for the mother bird at the loss of her babies. “After all, the worst pain any mother can have is the loss of her babies.”
Here is a child who with his Asperger’s is not “supposed” to feel empathy for others. To not to be able to relate to others’ pain. But, Monkey #1, always different, seems to feel it more. As I sat there on the stairs, showing them the eggs, he hugged me and said, “I hope you never have to know how it feels to lose one of us.”
Me too neither.
So, my sweet, sensitive, Asperger-y Monkey #1 is insisting we bury the little ones. To honor them.
And so we will.
And every time I look at that nest, I will remember that moment, and smile.