Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Bale Net Abode

It was just before dawn, and I was scraping bacon grease out of the iron skillet when something caught my eye. I stood still and studied the familiar but out-of-place colors. Green and white hay bale netting hung from the ancient spruce in our yard, swaying in the early breeze like a ribbon without care.


“How did that end up there?” I thought to myself. Then I poured a cup of coffee. 


Days later, the netting was gone, and I assumed it had finally blown away. 


Then the late April wind came. 


Caroline let go of the screen door, and it smacked against the side of the house.

Cyrus’s hat flew across the yard towards the highway, and I scolded him for chasing it. 

Hair was whipping across my face as I tried to take phone calls on the resistant side of the grain bin. No one on the other end could hear me. The wind was terrible atop our hill!


The following morning, we suited up for chores and walked outside to find not one but two bird nests laying on the ground beneath the ancient spruce. They were very different. 


One was quite large and constructed very loosely, using twigs, grass, stems, and black hair the birds had found chute-side.


My jaw dropped as we inspected the second nest because the second nest was a masterpiece. 


It was perfectly bowl-shaped, constructed of hay, sticks, hair, mud and green and white hay bale netting and tightly bound, sturdy from the dried mud. The familiar green and white hay bale netting was interwoven throughout the natural resources. 


This nest was a work of art!


We studied the rural architecture and differences in design. We reviewed materials and procurement, concluding that if to scale to fit our needs, they would have been $200,000 homes in rural Economy, Indiana.  


But no longer. 


Because on that particular morning after the wind, they were nothing but high-rise houses on the ground. And though I hate to question the strength of others, I doubt a bird was able to swoop down and lift its own home back into the limbs of the spruce. 


Caroline carried the sturdy nest all over the farm for two days, hauling it in her jeep, filling it with rocks, and showing the barn cats. As a mother who works to keep our small house in order, I felt compassion for the bird who had built this home, returned to find it blown away, then watched a 4 ½-year-old tote the dwelling all over the farm.


Can you imagine the work that went into building such a treasure, only to have it blown away by spring wind? 


I suppose we’ve all felt disappointment as such, whether it be a work project, home investment, relationship, or dear friendship, that we’ve poured our heart and energy into only to watch it fall apart.


But remember: 


Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? — Matthew 6:26


Some birds do little more than cover our cars in white, but God still cares for and values them. Just as your value doesn’t change when disappointment, shame, fear, or regret cover your heart. God loves and values every part of you. 


I began writing this early last week and can only finish as time allows. But I wanted to share that as I conclude for deadline, there is again bale netting hanging from the exact same branch in our spruce tree. 

This bird is persistent and hard-working, resourceful and motivating. Reminding us that no matter what life throws at you, there is hope. 


There is always hope. 


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