Monday, June 7, 2010

What I Learned From Birds...

A couple of months ago, a robin decided to build her nest in our garage. More specifically, this robin diligently created her nest in the frame of my bicycle which was hanging upside down from our rafters. At first, the bird would dart out as soon as we entered the garage. But the longer she stayed, the more comfortable she became having us around.

In the beginning, I thought how wonderfully exciting this would be; very National Geographic like and so educational for the children. When we figured she had laid her eggs and we could no longer close our garage doors...ever...I had some misgivings. But that's an entirely different post.

So, this robin sat on her eggs for a few weeks and all I kept thinking about was how those newborn baby birds were going to get out of the garage. I mean, flying in and of itself was a challenge without the added obstacles of miscelaneous rafters, beams, doors, windows, etc. I feared greatly that they would impail themselves on something in their early days and we'd come home to a sweet dead baby bird on our garage floor.

I really just had no idea how birds learned to fly. Does their mama carry them somehow and then drop them and then bump them back up if they start to fall? You know, like does she proverbially "hold their hand" while they take the first leap? Do they all go together? What if they're too scared and they never leave the nest? I mean, my goodness, there they'd be...days old, peeking out over the sides of their nest, curious about the world outside our garage...and OH MY GOODNESSS...there'd be a big 'ole drop onto a hard looking floor not to mention the menacing tractor staring back up at them. And then they'd look out trying to form a plan and there are all these obstacles and beams and doors and things in their way. I really did just fear for them...and wonder!

But it wasn't long until the eggs hatched and we saw the robin sitting higher in her nest and leaving a bit more frequently. {well, with three new little mouths to feed I guess she was a little busy} I thought for sure it would be a while before those birds needed to worry about flying. We checked in on them from time to time and found that they were growing much more quickly than I had anticipated. Then, all of a sudden one day, we walked out into the garage and there was the bird, out of the nest, over by the window, trying to figure out how to get out. I, being the Nervous Nelly that I am, thought for sure we needed to do something about this. But my calm as anything husband assured me that the baby bird would be fine. The next day, we went out to find that not only had the bird found it's way out, but it's siblings had also left the nest and were finding their way out as well. Just like that.

Now, they had their troubles. Many times I heard a bird stuck up in the rafters or saw one trying to get out through a closed window. But eventually, they all made it out. And what occurred to me was that none of us know what we're doing or how to do until we just do it. And I thought about all the times in my life when I've had to fly without knowing how. Like when I graduated from college with no clue where to go next. Or when I brought my fist born home from the hospital surprised to find that they simply allow you to just walk right out the door with them without proper demos or a peek at the owner's manual. And when I launched my soap business not knowing either how to actually make soap or how to run a business. Everyday there are a multitude of moments where I think to myself "but I don't know how" and it seems so scary to just leap out of my nest where everything is familiar and dependable. But, as the robins showed me, you just have to do it and figure it out as you go.

And I'm pretty sure that if you ask anyone, they'll tell you that they did not receive the mega how-to manual for their life either. During O Magazine's 10th anniversary celebration, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of "Eat, Pray, Love" gave an excellent speech and mentioned how we all think that there are some people who have just been handed all the answers..because it may seem that way. But really that's not the case. We are all struggling trying to be bold and brave. We are all just little baby birds in cozy nests, wanting to spread our wings out into the world. And none of us know how. But the only way to learn is just to take a acknowledge that the risk of facing adversity {like a closed window or a wrong turn} is a small price to pay for the chance to soar!


J. June 7, 2010 at 1:44 PM  

Fabulous story and life lesson!
I thoroughly enjoyed this.
I have robins who return every year to the same tree, and every year their poor babies meet some sort of nasty demise :(
I've consider a "no nest building" sign.
LOL ...

Suki June 7, 2010 at 2:07 PM  

I so can relate to this :)
Beautiful post you put together here.
Very wise words.
Thank you for sharing.

PhotoPuddle June 7, 2010 at 2:45 PM  

What a lovely post. And all so true.

Kelly June 7, 2010 at 2:56 PM  

Maegan-I have to finally confess to being a blog stalker and quietly reading weekly :) But this video today that you linked to was so awesome and made my day that I finally felt compelled to write and tell you what a wonderful outlook you exude and how much I totally relate to so many of the things that you write! You have put together something really great.
Kelly Vezendy

blue china studio June 7, 2010 at 4:07 PM  

What a great story! And so true about just having to learn as you go. And love the bird photos. Very beautiful.

Kylie June 7, 2010 at 4:15 PM  

Fantastic, wise words and beautiful photos! So true and for me, something i need to remember, sometimes that leap needs to be made. Thank you. x

Kylie June 7, 2010 at 4:15 PM  

Fantastic, wise words and beautiful photos! So true and for me, something i need to remember, sometimes that leap needs to be made. Thank you. x

{Amy} June 7, 2010 at 4:38 PM  

oh, i love this!
we just had baby bunnies in our backyard and with two dogs and 2 kids it was a constant worry for me!

great post maegan!

Erin Wallace June 7, 2010 at 5:59 PM  

Wow Maegan! This is a lovely story with a great life lesson. I used to think that I had my life all planned out, but then life hit me hard and made it clear to me that I am not in control. And just like those little birds, sometimes I hust have to peck around and take a leap to figure out what comes next. Great!

xo Erin

Feather June 7, 2010 at 7:41 PM! this is a terrific post. holy cow! i'm just amazed at your parellels here. and you're right.

Beverly June 7, 2010 at 8:14 PM  

beautiful post along with such beautiful photos

Tammy Lee Bradley June 7, 2010 at 9:13 PM  

Wonderful! Thank you for sharing! You have a post at my site...

t does wool June 7, 2010 at 10:09 PM  

what a lovely story Maegan.

Jamie June 7, 2010 at 10:10 PM  

Amazing post!

Like you, I would have worried about the babies - but I have a feeling that you helped it would have made things harder on them. We all have to learn and if that means flying into a window or two - well how else to we figure out that doesn't work and we need to find another way if we aren't allowed to try.

Can't tell you how much I'm enjoying Bootcamp. Seeing the work of the other participants and connecting with them is amazing - and I can already feel myself stretching and building some creative muscles.

Corinne June 7, 2010 at 11:04 PM  

This is one of my favorite posts of yours. Honestly.
"But eventually, they all made it out. And what occurred to me was that none of us know what we're doing or how to do until we just do it."
It's so true. Such a journey of putting one foot in front of the other, taking the moments as they come and molding them into our days, moving forward.

SweetPea June 8, 2010 at 12:32 AM  

Just the post needed before retiring for the evening. Thanks for the link to Elizabeth Gilbert's remarks. Enjoyed :)

Kate June 8, 2010 at 12:59 AM  

A wonderful story. i loved the lesson of it and have experienced the same myself. We had great horned owls nesting in our yard and one day they were gone. I really have been worried about them. Tonight I saw one of the baby's again. It felt good to know they were alright. Silly for sure but I do see the lesson there too. Just do it...

Camilla~ Bloom June 8, 2010 at 3:47 PM  

Love the cool is that?

Anonymous June 8, 2010 at 8:46 PM  

Hey Madeline, I just wanted to apologise for not beginning your course this week. It's been a tough 2 weeks with my health (hospital visits, iv steroids, pain) and I've just been trying to get by. I did start a flickr. group but that was easy stuff. lol.

I'm sure it's going great so far! Hey, can I sign up for your next session? xoxo

kneesandpaws June 8, 2010 at 9:12 PM  

You are the brightest light in my blogging experience. Thank you for sharing these words. I'm doing what I do now because of this knowledge.

Hyacynth June 8, 2010 at 11:40 PM  

I adore this post. It's hitting me on so many levels. I love how God teaches us in the small yet miraculous and amazing ways. And through His creation. Such a lovely, real lesson.

jodie June 9, 2010 at 1:03 PM  

this is an amazing post...thank you for the reminder.

Relyn June 10, 2010 at 8:15 AM  

What a fantastic essay. Your Creativity Boot Camp is helping lots of us to leave the cozy nest and fly. Thank you for that.

janine June 12, 2010 at 3:48 PM  

Such a great post - I feel this is exactly how I feel most of the time. The constant worrying about what's coming next and if I can handle it. Reassuring to know we all go through it and we all manage somehow!

Gifts of Creation June 13, 2010 at 5:07 PM  

Thank you so much for posting this and for creativity boot camp. I love it! We are going through my husband being laid off and its a tough time. I feel that uncertainty you talked about, what is about to happen next, will it all work out, or will we fall to the floor in a "splat"? IT's a beautiful reminder that life has a way of working itself out in time....

Gifts of Creation June 13, 2010 at 5:24 PM  

By the Way, I thought you might also appreciate this blog post on art and creativity: