There is so much awful spectacle in the wider world right now that I dread looking at the news in the morning. The tiny drama of nearby life is a different matter though.
The littlest things are riveting. Like this handful of dead grass that I imagine is a fallen nest near the front door three days ago.
I walk over to pick it up.
But just when I reach down, a small bird scrambles out.
Chit, chit, chit...this little bird, an Oregon junco, energetically scolds me. There is, after all, no neglected and fallen nest, but a home built on the ground and inhabited, thank you very much. Back off.
For the next 24 hours I try unsuccessfully to catch a glimpse of what is inside that nest, but it is always covered by its funny bird-made grass tarp.
And then yesterday, mama left the nest slightly uncovered. Three perfect little speckled eggs.
All the bad headlines in the world can't destroy my delight.
But quickly I am gripped with fear.
What were they thinking anyway? Are these inexperienced bird parents? Situated on top of shallow green ground cover, this is not the well-disguised nest described in the bird book. It screams NEST NEST NEST to any hungry predator. There is a growing brood of crow babies down the street and I fear that they will soon feast upon junco eggs. My junco eggs. So John puts up a screen, sort of, to allay my fears. He says it is inspired by architect Frank Gehry, and I suppose it is.
This afternoon there is news. And again it is the very best kind of news: three tiny babies. They are little more than naked beating hearts lying in a bed of soft grass and moss. They are the most vulnerable thing I have ever seen. Will they survive? I don't know. But they are now 12 hours old, and in this world that is a victory all by itself.