I spent an hour in the bathtub yesterday, sobbing my own snot and tears into my hands as I wailed and carried on… I actually exhausted myself. I had planned on doing things yesterday, but, as is not unusual in my life, a bird got in the way of my plans.

Ophelia. Remember her? She’s the lovely bird who built her nest on the top rung of the ladder that we have leaning against the shed. She had two eggs, then four… then back down to two again as her not-to-be babies became food for someone else instead.

The other day I went and had a quick look in the nest while Ophelia had jaunted off to the deli for a birdseed and honey bagel (I assume), and I saw one egg. Just one now.

Of course the obvious thing to do was run crying into The Cheerleader I Live With and sob as he held me tightly in his big, strong, comforting arms. He was so kind as he tried to tell me gentle things about nature and ‘the way it is’. He took me for a walk through the forest so that I could see some of the nice things about Nature. We smiled at the way our dogs bounded through the trees. We laughed at the way the bunnies noses jump and twitch. We cheered on the asshole swan who was busy chasing the innocent just-floating-by ducks away from his lady bird’s nest. I felt better, but I still thought that Nature was a total dick.

Three days ago, I looked out at Ophelia’s nest and didn’t see any eggs.

What I saw instead was one tiny baby bird with his neck stretched up, waiting for some breakfast from Ophelia! I screamed “She did it! She did it!”, and made The Cheerleader I Live With get out of bed to see what had happened. He was pretty happy too, but that was probably because I wasn’t crying this time. I watched her from a distance for the next day or so, happily seeing the whole process she went through to feed her baby. The Cheerleader I Live With made me promise to stay away from the nest for a few days (not even going in for a photo to share with you folks), so I respected Ophelia’s space and stayed behind the window. It was like we had a new backyard! Even though Ophelia and her baby were quiet, it just seemed so big and noisy out there now!

This morning, as I lifted the blinds, I didn’t see Ophelia. She was probably off getting breakfast, so I took the opportunity to run to the nest and take a quick photo of her baby. I hovered my iphone above the nest as usual, snapped a photo, and ran back inside before Ophelia came back. I looked at the blurry photo…

No baby bird in the nest.

I ran downstairs again, and hoped that I was wrong, or had just messed up the shot. I took another photo… no baby bird in the nest that Ophelia had built on the top rung of the ladder that we have leaning against the shed. Her last baby was gone.

Somebody got him, too.

I went inside and cried a little, and I would have maybe been semi-sort of-ok with it all if I hadn’t looked out the window at the nest one more time.

I saw Ophelia.

She was standing on the edge of her nest, crooking her head back and forth, and giving single, little ‘peep‘s as she saw that her baby was gone. I stood and watched her for over three minutes as she just stared into her nest and made tiny, sad sounds. She flew away, but returned a few moments later with a little bit of food…

But there was no one there for her to feed anymore.

She stayed at her nest a few moments longer, looking and looking, and then she flew away. Two hours later she hadn’t come back. I didn’t see any sign of her for the rest of the day. The nest that she built on the top rung of the ladder that we have leaning against the shed was empty. It was quiet.

I can’t believe how much I miss her. It was so exciting when we saw the nest, and then to see Ophelia lay her eggs was even better! I was sad for her when her eggs were stolen, and I rejoiced for her when she finally had her last baby pierce through its egg and look out into the world. It was amazing to watch this mama bird dart from the nest and return lightning fast with something to nourish her baby. But then to see her return that one final time, just to be 100% sure that her nest was empty, it was more than I could take.

I broke down and sobbed. I sat on the floor and held my head in my hands and just cried as hard as I could. I slowly made my way to the bath and let the warm water rise up and hold me as I just lay there and cried. I texted The Cheerleader I Live With at work and told him what had happened. I told him I wanted to run away forever, to a place where nothing bad ever happened to any animals.

But nowhere like that exists.

It’s just a part of nature. It’s just what happens…

Today I’ll ask The Cheerleader I Live With to go outside and take down the nest that Ophelia built on the top rung of the ladder that we have leaning against the shed. She doesn’t need it anymore, and I don’t want any other bird to use it, because it’s just not safe.

I hope she has flown away and met a nice, kind bird who her mother would have approved of. He’ll bring her food (and flowers occasionally), so that she can sit on their eggs in the nest that they built on the most hidden branch, in the sturdiest tree, that’s wrapped in barbed wire and and atom bombs. I hope they have four babies. I hope all four babies grow up to be really awesome birds who find cures for cancer, male pattern baldness, and the Republican party. I hope Ophelia and Jedrek (Polish for “strong man”) live a long, happy, romantic life together where they do lots of traveling. I hope they eat gourmet worms, and high-end cricket abdomens. She deserves that, at least.

xo

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