By Sue Murphy
After breakfast this morning, I hauled Dave outside to walk the lower 40, feet, that is. My backyard isn’t all that big, but my goodness, this year there has been a lot to see.
The daffodils made an early appearance. I sent photos to my northern friends and relatives meaning to cheer them, but when they were hit with yet another snowstorm, I realized I was being just plain mean.
I wouldn’t have blamed the daffodils if they hadn’t come up at all, things having been so wacky this past year. The bulbs could have conferred like the cruise lines and decided to dry dock until 2022, but I’m glad they didn’t. In years past, I would have casually looked out my back window and thought, “Hmm, the tulip tree is in bloom.” But this year, I was celebrating every blossom. I cheered the lilies when they sent green shoots up through the bark. I said helpful, encouraging things to the forsythia and azaleas. I even stifled my annoyance at the camellia-ish bushes whose flowers are so heavy they fall off as soon as they bloom. Scooping up sackfuls of sodden foliage does not exactly feel like gathering ye rosebuds.
Still, all this loveliness and the reinstatement of the NCAA tournament. It was like the universe was saying that things were going to be OK after all.
As if that wasn’t wonder enough, I noticed a pair of bluebirds checking out my birdhouse. It’s an official bluebird house but the bluebirds have ignored it for the past 25 years. Other birds have made use of it, but every year, I clean it out in hopes that it will attract an actual bluebird pair, and it finally did. I watched the mom and dad go in and out of the house for several days and was feeling very excited about the possible hatchlings, but then (cue ominous music) one terrible morning, I came upon a pile of bluebird feathers in the yard. Actually, my dog, Dave, made the discovery. There were a couple of hawk feathers mixed in, but it was obvious that the bluebird had not made it through the encounter.
I was devastated. Really, on top of everything else, this? It was almost more than I could take.
In my flower child mind, I started to think, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could persuade the animals to go vegetarian? Hawks could circle around to find tender chrysanthemums and foxes could salivate over fern fronds instead of the rabbits that hide under them. (Dave found one of those, too, or parts of one. I won’t describe the encounter mostly because I do not want to burden you with the visual since I am still trying to delete it from my mental library.)
Disney approached the vegetarian idea. The sharks in “Finding Nemo” were endeavoring to make fish friends and not food. The animals in “Zootopia” had set up a predator-free society, but even then, there was pushback. If Disney can’t accomplish it, what hope do I have?
Now, I know what you’re saying. Animals are animals. That’s the way they’re meant to be. It’s the circle of life and all that, but wouldn’t it be lovely if we all just circled around plants?
Yes, meat-eating is wired into some animals’ DNA, but when I came upon that little pile of blue feathers, some still being tufted by the wind, it just about broke my heart. This morning, I found a pile of dark grey feathers. Wiring or no wiring, I’m going to have to speak to that hawk.