August 31,2015: Mockingbird vs. Squirrel

~by Louis Templeman


Like a circus acrobat the little grey squirrel scurried up the electric line from my neighbor’s house to the telephone pole. His ascent was quickened by the attack of two mockingbirds which darted and dived at his scampering head and rump.

Once he made it to the pole there was no rest although he seemed to expect one. His brief pause was curtailed by the rapid angry passes of two tiny aviators. Immediately the squirrel jumped on another leg of electric line that traveled over the road to another neighbor’s house that faced mine.

The birds kept at it. Nevermore than a couple of feet away. Their flight crisscrossed each other like ribbons being laced for a child’s hair. In a quick jump the squirrel fled from the wire to the roof. I could hear his tiny claws digging into the roof tiles and burning rubber as his persecutors soared close enough to peck at his scurrying little furry butt.

Clearing the far side of the roof the chase disappeared into a crepe myrtle. I kept watching and in a minute the two birds returned one after the other, in close formation and in a more leisurely and triumphant manner they appropriated a perch on the wire, the squirrel’s highway, near the pole. It was easy to imagine their pride as they exalted in their victory and remained vigilant in the event of another battle.

It is common for a person to find herself in a rural setting and after a deep breath comment, “Ah! I love nature. It is so peaceful.” But, really it is not. It is filled with birds eating insects, eagles eating rabbits, cats eating lizards, dogs chasing cats, spiders catching flies, mockingbirds chasing squirrels and squirrels stealing sunflower seeds from cardinals and finches. A perusal of Discovery Channel nature shows display even more violent situations.

Life is often a fight, a struggle. And, as the little birds demonstrated it is better to fight with a partner than a lone. I recently watched the movie, A Beautiful Mind. At the end of the story John Nash is seen accepting the Nobel Prize for economics. John, without his wife’s commitment to him would have spent his adult life in a mental health institution. He is schizophrenic and regularly hallucinates.

The strong faithful love of his wife and professional associates and mental health professionals helped him get where he could not have gone alone. The lonely do not stand up as well in the face of typical human torments.

This is why the LORD said it is not food for a man to be alone. Why Solomon said, “A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.” As the mockingbirds knew and the squirrel found out, life’s battles have better success when a partner of community is involved.

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