The Sparrow’s Nest


A sparrow selected our front door wreath last spring as a prime spot to build her nest. In her mind I’m sure the location made sense, it was sheltered from rain and inclement weather. That it was a high-traffic area was beyond her understanding. Every entrance and exit from the front door set the nest in motion causing her to fly away. Understanding the situation we took to entering and exiting through the breezeway door or the garage until the fledglings had literally, “flown the nest.”

Fast forward to 2022 and a newly designed spring wreath is hung on the front door, and yes, Mrs. Sparrow came back.  The wreath was removed before she could take out any building permits for a new nest. Several days later we noticed the front porch was strewn with twigs and bits of evergreen. There is a reason the term, “bird-brain” exists.  She chose the next closest spot to build her nest, the blades of the ceiling fan on the front porch.  Day after day she worked on her nest until the next stiff breeze caught the blades of the fan, spinning them and sending her nest architecture onto the floor of the porch.

“Can you build something in the corner of the porch, away from the door where she can build her nest in peace,” Susan asked?

Every day we are bombarded with news of war, violence, refugees, famine, and cruelty beyond imaging. Closer to home we watch as friends and family deal with issues that leave us feeling just as impotent as the events on the other side of the globe. Our world spins like the blades of the ceiling fan, scattering our feeble constructs and there seems very little that is in our control. Some days the best we can do is to offer a smile to a stranger, a kind word when a sharp word is our first thought, and build a little ledge for a sparrow’s nest.

Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God.  Psalm 84:3


Weeds Give Me Hope!


Here at the Four-Acre Wood we are ready for spring. Every season has its charm and beauty, yes even winter, though at times it’s a stretch to find that. The robins have been back for weeks now. Where do they go during winter? We could “Google” that to find the answer, but the mystery is more charming than an explanation. A little magic trumps a computer generated response every time.

The valley behind us spills into the Village of Kimmswick, then on to the Mississippi River. The trees lift their branches heavenward, still bare, but in supplication, knowing that new growth will come.

Our once carefully manicured and mulched flower beds offer the first hints of new growth and fresh green. No, not hybrid hydrangeas or hostas, but weeds.

Steinbeck wrote in Cannery Row, “.”Our Father who art in nature, who has given the gift of survival to the coyote, the common brown rat, the English sparrow, the house fly and the moth.”

We could add to that list, weeds.

Steinbeck’s observation is spot on. God did not give the gift of survival to the exotic and rare, the Siberian Tiger or Peacock, but to the lowly, the common … weeds … and me.

I’m slowly checking off things I won’t accomplish in my life time; brokering peace in the Mid-East, finding a cure for cancer, or balancing my checkbook. But I’m okay being a weed, so long as I’m a weed in God’s plan.

Our Father who art in nature.

(But God, we’ve got to talk about mosquitoes and poison ivy)