Friday, April 29, 2016
It was one of those textbook spring mornings. Your winter-weary flesh initiates a love affair with the near-perfect temperature, the sun softly butters everything around you, and a southerly breeze licks your face and massages your feet. I suppose it was a perfect morning for sitting on the back porch of the farmhouse, listening to the cardinals' chirps and a weaning, homesick calf crying for its momma; but it was also a perfect morning to get a little work done.
Armed with a sling blade (Karl would call it a Kaiser Blade), a weedeater, and some pruning shears, I headed off for a spot that was absolutely crawling with thorn trees. All sizes - from infant to young adult. All worthy opponents, even with my high tech gear. You see, a thorn tree has a mind of its own, even as you are working to snip it or chop it, it's thinking of ways to get even. Ways to hurt you. Ways to maneuver its hateful spikes into your skin. Gloves? Forget about it. Any thorn tree worth its salt will make short work of even the thickest gloves and sink a thorn into the most vulnerable fleshy part of your hand.
What, I wondered, was God thinking when he created this weird tree, this plant of absolutely no redeemable value? Surely it was a busy day for Him and somehow this anomaly slipped by his otherwise impeccable creativity. Because I figured that I could spend a day or two just simply trying to find some modicum of worth for this wretched excuse for vegetation, and I wouldn't be able to come up with a single thing.
Regardless, I was winning the battle and had the field cleared with the exception of two plants. One a bruising six or seven footer and the other about hip high, qualifying more as a bush than a tree. I decided to make quick work of Shorty and then move on to Wilt. As I bent over the small thorn tree with pruner open, ready to snip it at its roots, I noticed something sitting near the top of the little tree, almost dead center. I looked closely and saw that it was a bird's nest, perfect in shape and placement. Meticulously woven shreds of grass had created a nicely rounded chamber for the future deposit of eggs. I heard a flutter to the side and turned and saw the momma bird sitting along the fence, her beak loaded with a fresh batch of building materials. She was a tiny sparrow, perfect in her own way, tail flitting back and forth and tiny, black, marble eyes peering at a gawky human hovering about her nearly finished home.
My initial thought was of our farm cats and how they would make short work of a nest full of naked baby birds and that maybe the best thing I could do for Momma Bird would be to destroy the thorn tree and the nest so she could start over in a safer place. Wait a minute. Thorn tree. That's the ticket! What could be a more perfect place for a low lying nest than dead center of a thorn tree. I figured there wasn't a domestic cat born capable of penetrating a thorn tree, regardless of the hapless havoc they could create with a nest of baby birds.
She was one sharp momma, that little sparrow. Yessiree. And God? Well, I reckon His eye is on the sparrow. As well as the thorn tree. And I knew what I had always known, but, in a very human way, tended to forget. God makes no junk. And He certainly doesn't waste creativity. Not a drop.
When I slipped away from her tree, Momma Sparrow flew over with her beakful of grass and starting weaving away. Me? I shouldered my shears and eased on over to Wilt. Wasn't any nest in that big boy, and I had a job to finish.