Sunday, April 22, 2007

Bitch-slapping Mother Nature on Earth Day

As with many, many homes across the country, mine came with the requisite builder-grade shrubs, poorly selected, too large and planted too close to the house.

I've been battling one particular red-tipped Photinia for all of my 13 years in residence here, and at this point, the outcome is a draw.

Why is this shrub lop-sided?

Today was beautiful, sunny and warm, and I spent all afternoon outdoors, in the yard. One of the many tasks I decided to tackle was the onerous, semi-annual chore of pruning back my red-tipped monstrosity to a reasonable size. I came at it from all sides, with hand pruners, loppers, and a pruning saw.

When I first approached the shrub and started sawing on my first branch, I startled a robin somewhere within, and she flew away. Oh, well, I thought to myself. There are lots of robins in this neighborhood, and lots of birds rest in my Photinia, waiting for me to fill the feeder near it. I'm used to startling birds who rest near the porch -- happens all the time.

After several vigorous, (perhaps overzealous?) branch amputations with the pruning saw, I happened to look down at the base of the Photinia, and saw this:

And my heart lurched.

And then I looked up and saw this:

And peaked over and saw this:

And I am heart-broken.

I extend my deepest sympathies to Mother Nature and Mr. & Mrs. Robin for the loss of their child, and my most sincere and heartfelt apologies for my part in that awful outcome. There will be one less baby robin born in my neighborhood this spring, I'm terribly sorry to say.

Which is why I can't bring myself to prune that lopsided branch on the top-right:

where the nest still sits. I know that there is slim-to-no chance that the robin family will return or that any bird family will reuse that nest, but I just can't bring myself to tear down their home so soon after I caused the loss of their child.

My neighbors must think I'm a complete idiot for pruning that shrub into such a bizarre shape. I don't really care, though. I'll go back and finish pruning it in a few weeks, once I'm sure no one else has moved into the nest.

But not today.

Later, as I ambled from one gardening chore to another, I spotted this bumble bee buzzing from flower to flower and plant to plant, among the many self-sown Dame's Rockets that crop up every spring:

Assuring me that, despite setbacks, Mother Nature continues on her merry way....


At 12:44 AM, Anonymous Robin said...

ON NO!!!! NOT A ROBIN!!!!!!! I collect nests. The best one I have is lined with angora from when I used to have angora bunnies. Those were some warm eggs!!

At 9:26 AM, Blogger Robin said...

OH MY!! I'm sure they forgive you....

At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Leeny said...

Hi Mary! I just HAD to come over from CAP's blog where you mentioned this post in the comments the other day. I would have been as heartbroken as you! Poor robin family. And I would have left the bush as is, too. ;)



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