War in Paradise

No one is settled – yet. There is great commotion and fighting in my back yard on this warm spring morning. Everyone is quarreling, chirping, hooting and arguing over who gets to move into the brand-new bird house in the shade and who eats at the feeders first. The dilapidated wooden box, which is nailed to the fence post, is also high on the wanted list. Everyone clamors for a spot out of the cat’s reach.

How ironic that looking for peace and safety causes such a ruckus.

I sit on the deck stairs and watch the chaos. I find it only slightly amusing.

The wrens dive-bomb the greedy chipmunk. It’s tucking a few more sunflower seed in its already full cheeks, before running off – probably to cram his loot into my down spout. I will know tomorrow, after the predicted thunderstorm. The wren’s beautiful chirping has turned into a nervous battle song, making the sparrows take cover.

Five hungry, travel-weary Baltimore Orioles are gorging on the grape jelly. Their bright orange feathers remind me of a sunrise. A shy purple finch joins them. He is a low threat and tolerated. Atop another birdhouse along the fence, a male Eastern Bluebird has assumed his post. Like a police officer in a shiny blue uniform, he guards the traffic, willing to charge offenders of the backyard order at any moment. He looks like he is in an extremely bad mood this morning.

I pour fresh water in birdbaths and fill the jelly plate one more time, try hard to create a bird haven. A female Hummingbird comes close and scans my face with radar like precision.  Her low buzzing and zigzag moves around my head make me feel interrogated. After her curiosity is satisfied, she disappears into the blue spruces, becoming invisible.

Mrs. Robin finds her bath water in the shallow bowl. Mr. Cardinal is watching her like David from the rooftop.

A couple of faithful chickadees are patrolling as well. In contrast to the Bluebirds, they move around, hop from deck to fence and back to the feeders. Like undercover agents, they quickly clean up the peanuts I left for the bigger birds. I chuckle. They pick up one nut at a time and drop the heavy load in the tall grass. They know the danger of displaying Blue-Jay-lures in full view. I can almost sense their annoyance with my birding ignorance.

My husband joins me. We sit back down and watch the commotion for a while. He interrupts my thoughts.

“There is always something.”

“Yep,” I say, almost under my breath.

I think of our teenager-filled house, of the worries that come with parenting six kids, my friend’s cancer, and another friend’s challenge with aging parents. I think of the war on the other side of the world, a world which has become as small as my backyard. My heart is heavy as I struggle for answers, for ways to bring some kind of resolve. I deeply want to create peace and lessen the burdens. My attempts seem to be for the birds.

In a few weeks things will look differently, when everyone has settled, the place will be quieter. There will still be a few squabbles but nothing like this. When the yard is in full bloom, when the Tiger Lilies stretch skyward and the Purple Phlox attracts butterflies and bees, when the young birds left the nest and flap to find their own food, then there will be peace.

Then, a while later, when the maple starts turning from a lush green to a lighter shade and eventually to a deep orange, the yard will grow even more quiet. I will wake up one morning and will find snow on the deck stairs. There might just be a lonely crow calling in the distance. Maybe I will hear an occasional dee-dee-dee from the nearby pines, reminding me to fill the feeder by the window for those who stayed behind. And most likely, while I sit inside and watch the chickadee, I will be looking forward to spring.

A Time for Everything
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (ESV)

Pictures and Essay – Heidi Viars, 2022

20 responses to “War in Paradise”

  1. Dear Heidi, our Father has gifted you with His Spirit to speak words that bring the reader into your company. I praise Him for continuing to bless you and us with your precious talents.
    Love and blessings to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dearest Fran, you encouragement is a balm to my hurried heart and mind … makes me take refuge in Him … trust Him with the words He desires me to use. How often I look and wonder … “Can He use me?” … I let the enemy of our soul dive-bomb me. Your words bring me back, help me remember that nothing is ours. I pray I will return His gifts (whatever they may be) back to Him for His glory! Thank you, friend!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the reminder, Heidi. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading, dear Anna ❤️


  3. Beautiful post, Heidi. The creatures around us can look like a microcosm of our world with their quarreling and competing. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, indeed, Annie! So grateful for these glimpses of God’s kindness or the reminder to pursue His peace. Blessing to you, dear friend

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Margarita Kinstler Avatar
    Margarita Kinstler

    Great story!! I am a bird lover and watcher myself. I find great pleasure sitting in my backyard and watching them find their spring homes and fluttering around. The photos are absolutely beautiful, Heidi, and your descriptions are lovely! I enjoyed the reflection at the end.


    1. Thank you, Margarita. Let’s continue to trust the Prince of Peace with all that is going on around us! I am so grateful we crossed paths. Blessings to you 🤗❤️


  5. You’ve summed up life’s ebb and flow perfectly, Heidi. We love to feed the birds and watch their antics, too. One can never have enough bird feeders to stop the battles. We’ve tried. God’s best to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading, David. Shucks… I thought the more feeders the better. Thanks for the heads-up 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I too love to watch the antics of the wildlife that call our backyard home. I don’t think we enjoy quite the variety of birds that you do. That pileated woodpecker photo is magnificent! Haven’t seen one of those in a long time. You’ve got me thinking, Heidi: Just as the various species of birds act and react in different ways to the environment and events, so do the various species of humans. Some squawk with indignation, some insist on THEIR occupancy in the coveted birdhouse, others hide. May we who follow Christ be standouts, joyfully singing praise to our God no matter the circumstances around us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Nancy … may we as Christ followers indeed standout. I definitely not there yet, but with the Holy Spirit’s help I am working on it. Blessings to you, dear friend.


      1. I’m right there with you, Heidi!


  7. Great post! I love this: “My attempts seem to be for the birds.” 😄 funny, but sometimes so frustratingly true. Sometimes the only voice we seem to have is the one that we lift up to our Father in Heaven who listens.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. We know He listens! Thanks for reading and commenting… blessings to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Love this Heidi😍😍😍, i feel we are almost sitting on the same porch, i would have to add that Mr. RED, cardinal is knocking on all the windows of the house to fight his compition..lol Love You Friend🌻

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for reading, Wendy! Sometimes he gets like that 🙂


  9. vonhonnauldt2019 Avatar

    Everything in its time, as Ecclesiastes tells us. Everything in its time – God’s time. Thank you for this amusing, yet wonderful, post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There truly is a season for everything … and everything in God’s time. YES. Thanks for reading, Clarence … blessings to you as you discern the times and seasons.

      Liked by 1 person

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