Little yellow wings beat into a blur below the giant blue sky. The warbler darted across the the fenced-in backyard, capturing and consuming spring’s early insects. Occasionally, he landed on a weathered, gray fencepost or dry limb protruding from a bare tree. These moments of rest were infrequent at first, but as the young male began to sing, he’d roost longer. His song carried across the yard and joined in with the choir of other neighborhood warblers.
At the conclusion of each song, the young male puffed his chest out and waited for a female to show up. He noticed that he wasn’t alone in his conquest, but that’s why he had to make himself more noticeable than the others. He had to sing louder. He had to be brighter. His chest had to stick out further than any of the other males nearby if he was going to find a mate this season.
This led to preening and the occasional dive toward one of his compatriots- no, his rivals. Our protagonist felt he had something to contribute to the gene pool, so he had to compete with the others. He had been scoping out grass, weeds and other materials for building his nest for weeks. He couldn’t help but notice every good, empty place to construct his future home. It was just that season of life.
So far, no females. No reason to build a nest. No clutch of progeny to feed. The yellow warbler was free to fly around. Not that it was necessarily enjoyable to flap his wings and dart from bush to tree or fence. We all tend to take our most common means of travel for granted after a using it more than half our lives. Our subject loved to find himself caught in a draft, allowing himself to get carried away with leaves and plastic bags, letting the wind do half of the work.
One day when spring was finally warming up, the young warbler found the female he had been programmed to seek after. He was strutting and singing from his usual perch on the fence when she landed near him. Clearly, she was interested, but she took off after not more than a few short seconds. He pursued. Together, they shot across yards, darted over rooftops, and swept under tree branches. He couldn’t take his eyes off this potential mate as he flew all over the place, trying to keep up with her.
Being a bird, she couldn’t know much about playing hard to get, but frankly, it seemed as if she really didn’t want to be caught. Who wanted to get tied down to a nest with a demanding male and a clutch of eggs to deal with? He stayed hot on her tail though… until she saw her chance. The female pulled her wings in close to her body and dove, the male followed suit. They both turned up and turned right and hit an invisible wall, before dropping to the ground where they tried to breathe through broken necks and shattered beaks.
That’s where I found them. The smudges on the window were a giveaway that more birds had flown into glass that was impenetrable for such small animals. They landed in the garbage as soon as I was sure they were dead- didn’t want the dogs trying to eat them.
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.”
I guess we can plan, but God has His own idea about how things should go…