We focus a lot on wellness at PRA. Wellness for our employees and wellness as an important piece of the expertise that we offer to the field. Sometimes, as I drive into my garage at the end of the day when wellness has been on my agenda in some way, I am overwhelmed by the disconnect between work and home. Instead of a drive home filled with mindful moments and appreciation for all that I have been given, it has been 45 minutes of exhausted and hungry children, stress to reach each of them for an on-time pickup, and pressure to get them fed, cleansed, and to bed with homework finished at an appropriate hour. And then there is my yard.
As it often happens during these spring, summer, and fall months, as I finish that drive and look at my yard, I am overwhelmed by its mess. Perhaps if I had any spare time, I think. Or if I hit the lottery one day, I dream. Then I could get my yard into a respectable shape. Until then, I look at it and cringe at its mess. There are branches that need to be cut back, weeds that need to go, barriers that need to be edged, and ground covering that should be laid down. I often refer to it as our jungle and it usually turns my stomach.
But one Saturday morning a few weeks ago I found treasure in that mess. I was doing what I do most every Saturday – piles of laundry. For some reason, I looked out the seldom-used laundry room window. It’s seldom used because it is covered by a part of the mess. A large bush sits outside that window and the branches are so overgrown that they reach to the house. It has been on my list of things to clean up in my mess for a long time. But, like the rest of the mess, I have not quite gotten to that.
For some reason I looked at the branches out the window on this morning. Much to my surprise, there sat a perfect nest filled with baby robins. Their mama sat on the edge and four tiny birds sat nestled close together with their beaks in the air. And then just like that, the papa bird swooped in, the babies opened their beaks to the sky, and the papa dropped food in their mouths. It was amazing. The papa bird came and went over and over, feeding the babies while mama protected them. I had a front row seat.
It was truly amazing to watch. My 10-year-old agreed, saying that watching this feeding was as good as watching a Yankees game. Trust me, for him there is no higher compliment. For 2 days I watched those baby birds and saw how their parents cared for them. I had quiet time observing nature without electronics with my 10-year-old. I saw the mama sit on the nest in a storm and thought about how natural it is for me to want to protect my children at all costs. I wondered when the babies would be ready to fly on their own.
Tuesday morning I went to check on the birds through the window and the nest was empty. It was amazing to see that nest go from being completely filled with babies to totally deserted. I can only assume that the babies were ready for the world and the family had moved on. While my front-row seat to nature was gone, I finally had one of those mindful moments. If I had cut back that bush, there would not have been a place for that nest outside my window. Perhaps there is beauty to be found somewhere in my mess. Maybe I need to look at it more closely and notice the things inside of it. There are bound to be more flashes of beauty even among the weeds.