Saturday, July 12, 2008

The simplest things

So much of nature’s behavior is innate.
From the intricate weaving of spiders to the miles traveled by birds, alone, over time-worn migration routes—their inborn understanding of a complex task defies explanation.
An act more deeply embedded than thought.
I stand in awe.

So capable, in their short lives, I forget much must also be learned by the very young.
Sometimes, it seems-- the simplest of things.

Last week, I watched the wrens lead their young out into the world—from their nest beneath the chainsaw that rests on the table just inside the barn door.
Four small, still tail-less copies of the adults cautiously emerged into the light. White eye-stripes marking young faces that, just sixteen days before, had yet to be seen.
Following the trilling call of their parents from the yard beyond.
Their bravery, rewarded with food.

In a short while, one successfully skirted the end of the woodpile, and tucked himself safely beneath the red canoe across the lawn.
A fat, juicy beetle for you!

But the remaining three, lingered in the doorway, confused by the wheelbarrows and rakes and piles of wood and stone.
Every little crevice was investigated.
Every log, looked under--and over.
None led out.
A wall of wood stood between them and dinner.

It rained for most of the afternoon, and I could hear their parents’ continuing trill, even from indoors, as I fussed in the kitchen.
From a branch just beyond the pile, she called to them, flitting back and forth, attentively—while they tried to press themselves between every log.
There was no secret passage.

By evening, all was quiet.
The day's lesson, at last, had been learned.
At end of the woodpile, is the beginning of the world.

One egg remained unhatched in the nest

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Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a wonderful story Nina. I am so glad the little ones found their way outside. What a frighteningly fantastic world they found themselves in.

KGMom said...

Ahh Nina--a very sweet touching story.
It is humbling indeed to think that we humans came over time from such stock of instinct. It does make me wonder if we have gained, by all our higher reasoning powers. There is something so ineffably sweet about sheer parental determination to chirp one's young out into the world!

Pam said...

Oh how beautiful. I love the little poignant photo at the end.Again,just beautiful.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

It is amazing how much animals have to learn in such a short time to survive. Thanks for sharing the lesson you witnessed young wrens learn.

LauraHinNJ said...

Oh this made me smile... at the end of the woodpile is the beginning of the world!


bobbie said...

Such a charming story.

KatDoc said...

Oooh!! Baby wrens! I'm so jealous - and how precious they are, trying to find their way to the outside world.


Mary said...

Wonderful! I love wrens and to see them here is simply wonderful! Congrats on the successful nest!

Tom said...

Nina- I use a free software called to do my photo editing, which you can download at

Happy Nature Blogging-


NCmountainwoman said...

What a delightful post. As always, accompanied by thought-provoking prose. Thanks

Bird Feeder Scott said...

That was really touching! As a new father, I could really relate to this line: "Four small, still tail-less copies of the adults". There is nothing like looking into your son or daughter's eyes and seeing part of yourself. I imagine this is true for all species. Thanks for the post -- I really enjoyed this one.

dguzman said...

Nina, can I come live in your yard?