persevering and memories

Killdeers have lived and nested on our property ever since we built our home.  I remember one year Jim was so distressed about protecting the Killdeer nest from being washed away by rain.  He tried to place bricks around it – far away enough to not bother the parents but close enough to divert the accumulating water from the nest.  It seemed to work.  But then some days later the eggs were gone.  We felt a snake must have eaten them.

If you are not familiar with Killdeers, read here.  Their nests are just a little “swish” of rocks in gravel.  Not much of a nest at all.  I have really enjoyed the Killdeers over the years.  They will act injured and call loudly to distract me or the dogs from a nest.  They will even lead my Ford F150 away from the nest – not intimidated by the size of it at all.

This year mommy & daddy Killdeer have already hatched one brood of two.  I love the little ones when they are new and hard to see on the gravel.  They look like fluff balls on toothpick legs.  I’ve known for a couple of days that there is a new nest because of the alarm calls by mom and dad.  I walked around this morning to find the nest.  I know to walk the opposite direction than the parents are trying to lead me.

Finally I found it.  It took some doing.  How this species ever survives I don’t know.  The nest has one solitary egg right in the middle of the driveway.  Here is a photo series – see if you can find the nest and egg before you get to the close up.

nest in the middle of the driveway

nest view


closer yet

the egg

The Killdeer persist.  Despite it all.  Despite losing eggs time and again.  It made me think about Jim wanting to help them.  He loved the birds just like me.  I loved him for loving them.

I like this poem by Stanley Kunitz about persisting in our life journey.

The Layers 

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
"Live in the layers,
not on the litter."
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

1 thought on “persevering and memories

  1. “and every stone on the road
    precious to me.”

    I liked that part a lot, especially with the Killdeer in mind.
    I looked pretty closely at the enlarged photos and there is NO WAY I could have found that nest!

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