Classic Post

Squabbling Over a Seed

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Birds in my backyard.

At dinner the other night, my auntie and uncle told me about their recent experience of watching one sparrow brutally kill another. It reminded me of this post I wrote a while back.

The backyard was full of twittering birds. All three feeders were full of seed, and it was party time for the sparrows. Closest to the house, two tiny sparrows sat cute and all fluffed-up in the cedar diamonds of the lattice surrounding the deck rails. The birds were looking at each other with an intense expression that I mistook for mutual admiration.

Then, quick as feathered lightning, the sparrows lunged at each other and, horrified, I realized that I was witnessing a territorial seed dispute.

I thought, “Stupid birds, bickering over something as tiny as a seed!”

Then I considered: Isn’t that what we humans do all the time? Isn’t that the definition of irritation? Someone does one small thing:

  • Gives us unwanted instructions. 
  • Tells us a story with more details than any breathing person could continue to care about.
  • Compares some of their recent successes to our past failures.

Is your heart melting at remembering these special occasions? I know mine is.

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Barn birdfeeder.

Maybe it’s not all about us. Maybe the Being Alive Kit just happens to include feeling and causing irritation. Other beings aren’t doing irritating things to us; they’re simply doing them near us. Whether we know it or not, we’re irritating them, as well.

Being aware of those around us sometimes means we’ll want to argue over a seed and get our feathers ruffled as we ruffle the feathers of others.  Fortunately, we humans can choose not to squabble over something so tiny as a seed of irritation or a rock in our shoe or a pain in our posterior.

It’s easier said than done, but every change starts somewhere.

 

Two Birds

 

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