Life in our neighborhood

Having road construction behind our house has changed the patterns of the animals in the neighborhood. We often watch the deer in the evening. They seem to like to cross the road at about the same time as we have dinner. Since we like to eat on our deck during the summer, we tend to wait until a little after six for dinner because the construction crews shut down around 6. The deer are also waiting until the machines shut down for the day before crossing the road. Another change is that the deer didn’t have their fawns in our back yard. I’m not exactly sure where the little ones were born, but there is a sheltered gulley not far from our home that would provide what they need for the births. So we didn’t see the young fawns until they were bigger this year. However, there is a set of twins that we’ve seen and yesterday they decided to take a nap in our back yard. Despite the activity of the excavators and a concrete truck and a couple of skid steer loaders they settled down and though they were wary when I stepped out of the garage, they allowed me to take a few pictures before I left to run a couple of errands.

The bluebirds continue their work of feeding their brood and provide entertainment for our meals as well. Bluebirds eat insects and it amazes me how keen their eyesight must be for them to be able to spot a small insect creeping in the grass. They’ll sit on a perch and watch and then suddenly dive and come up with a bug to take to their babies. I’ve seen them sit on the peak of the roof and still be able to be effective hunters.

We often don’t see the turkeys in the summer, so it doesn’t seem unusual for them to be having a different pattern for their days. They’ll probably show up in the early fall when this year’s chicks begin to look like adults. They’ll definitely be challenged by the construction. Turkeys like to walk in the same pattern each day and they don’t seem to like major changes.

Life is good and peaceful in our little neighborhood. It is hard to tell that there is a pandemic going on. Sure we shout to our neighbors across our back yards, but we did that before Covid. Our houses are fairly well spaced out here and many of us have been keeping to ourselves long before the illness was a threat.

We are definitely going to town a bit less these days. We take care of business as needed, and if we miss an item in our weekly grocery trek, I’ll make a second trip if needed. And I have never learned to be efficient with my trips to the hardware store. I keep a fair supply of items in the garage, but there’s always something that I’ve forgotten.

As the death toll from Covid-19 near 140,000 in our nation, with more than 3.4 million cases our state remains at a low level of testing, around 10%, so we don’t know how dangerous it is to venture out. As opposed to the days when we were actively working at the church, we’re mostly keeping to ourselves. Of course the church is empty now as well, so the final days of our working there were mostly being alone in the building.

I wonder, however, about what ti means to be living in this bubble. We are happy here with our birds and deer and we’re busy with the home repairs and sorting that need to be done. We have easy access to food and have everything that we need. But we are not used to separating ourselves from the world. There is so much grief in this world. So many have died. So many families have suffered losses, and because of the nature of the disease, many families have suffered multiple losses. Then there is the grief of loss of jobs and loss of friends and loss of church services and so many other losses. Our world is so full of grief.

Grief is something the church does well when it is operating in its normal fashion. We know how to console one another. We know how to be a supporting community. We have rituals for departure and funerals in he face of death. But this is not a normal time. Virtual church isn’t where we do our best work.

I pay attention to the work of active pastors and I admire their creativity and the dedication of those who are “in the trenches.” As we participate over the computer with the congregation in Bellingham I’ve learned of their 24-7 prayer line, we’ve been invited to participate in a half dozen virtual small groups, including Bible Study, fellowship and special interest groups. There are emails form the church three times each week and the Sunday services offer a chat stream that appears alongside the worship service. I’m not used to having side conversations during worship, so I don’t participate too much, but it does seem a little bit like being able to hear the whispers of others during the service.

We humans are amazingly adaptive species. We adjust to the realities of our lives. In that we aren’t that much different than the other animals who are our neighbors. If I am getting annoyed about all of the dust from the construction and the need to constantly wipe down surfaces as I spread stain on my deck, the bluebirds must have a similar layer of dust on their purchase and inside of their house. The deer are used to having the backyard to themselves when we go to work and with us staying home there is more activity in what used to be a very quiet place. But they are adapting. Life goes on and the natural process of raising a new generation continues.

Indeed we are among the world’s most fortunate people.

Copyright (c) 2020 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!