Monday, July 20, 2015

Sometimes You Just Have to Build a New Nest

If you've followed my blog posts over the years, you know that I am a long-time fan of the Decorah Eagles on UStream and Facebook. I have watched this dedicated pair of bald eagles bring 23 babies into the world, parent them as only they can, and launch them into the world as youngsters beginning new lives of their own. There have been successes and tragedies. Some of the young ones were killed by high tension wires and poles not properly insulated or protected. One youngster fitted with a transmitter has taken us on a 700 mile round trip over the last few years. Being able to watch them hatch and grow, taking one step and one flap at a time just like any other child, has been a privilege, as has the lessons in parenting their Mom and Dad have taught all of us.

The other day we were informed that a strong storm cell had passed through Decorah, Iowa, and literally snapped the tree with the eagles' nest in half, sending the nest, as well as all of the camera and recording equipment, crashing to the ground. Thankfully, none of the eagles were harmed. Mom, Dad and the three youngsters, who have all "fledged" and taken wing on their own, were elsewhere riding out the storm. However, our birds-eye view (pardon the pun) will be put on hold for quite some time until we know which tree the parents will chose to build a new nest in.

This is the second time in the history of this pair that a storm has taken down their nest. They waited until nesting season was upon them and simply built a new nest in a different tree. There was no wailing and moaning, no "woe is me" sentiments. They adjusted to the situation and did what needed to be done. Sometimes you just have to build another nest.

How many times in our lives have we felt like we were starting all over from square one? Just when we thought we were finally done with all the problems and responsibilities, and ready to really live our lives ... boom! Another storm, another tree down, another nest (dream/goal) smashed to bits. What can we do? We can cry and wail, and blame God, our partners, our kids, the economy, our parents, and anyone else who fits the bill. Or, we can just build a new nest. When we do, when we simply asses the situation, and really look at what needs fixing, the new version is often a better version than the one we had. If we don't become so attached to what we have, thinking that "stuff" is what makes us happy, then having to start over again isn't so much a tragedy as it is an adventure. More often than not, the new nest is better than we could have imagined, the new life better than the one we had planned.

I will miss being able to turn on my laptop and visit with the eagles high up in the tree, viewing the countryside as they see it and watching them live and grow. It will probably be some time before the folks that set up the cameras will know where the new nest will be so they can get us ready for a new season of eagle-watching. In that time, we will all have to be patient and do what we can, with what we have, to build something newer and, hopefully, stronger. Until then, I'll just have to consider the next few months to be an adventure into the unknown and take it on with all the excitement and anticipation of a young eaglet about to take her maiden flight. Sometimes the nest leaves you, but more often than not, it's you who have to leave the nest and take that first step.

And so it is.