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  • Writer's picturevilmablenman

Decisions, Decisions

We make them daily—monumental or inconsequential, from the moment we awake. Get up now or five minutes from now? Do I have a quick bowl of cereal (which one) or do I make eggs and toast? Do I send that email today? I ’ve been meaning to do so for a week. Or do I wait to hear from him? Is ending the relationship the best thing or do we try again? Do we buy? Do we sell now? Decisions, decisions.

Humans have choices and therefore we make decisions constantly. But how to make the right ones? And why is the process so darn agonizing at times? Why is it so fraught with pitfalls and regrets?

In the last three weeks or so, watching the cardinal couple that comes to nest in our yard annually, it struck me also that birds have a similar decision-making process and problem around choosing nesting sites each spring. And even before nest building, choosing mates. A whole other story. But back to the cardinal couple. Last year they built their nest in the tree that is a natural awning shading our front patio area. Wrong decision. When we had visitors, both birds and humans competed for airtime. What were we to do in a pandemic when guests couldn’t come inside? While we laughed and talked, cardinals tweeted complaints and threatened. Even worse, my husband—a creature of habit, pruned the tree before the nestlings had grown and flown. Personally, I would not have made either decision—the one he or the cardinals made. But seriously, decision-making is difficult. So, less judgement there.

Looking at the lilacs in their purple beauty this time of year, I envy their simple inner rhythms that send out buds which bloom in time, at the right time, all the time. A spring rite. No if’s or but’s. And always lilac-scented, not lavender or rose or lily of the valley. No decision-making there. Just perfection divinely delivered, more punctual than an Amazon package bought with a Prime account.

And that brings me to a final decision—I want to invite the Divine more often to direct daily decisions. He who makes birds and bees, and lilac bushes do their thing in spring, who makes the stars come out on time at night then retreat at the right time, in time for the sun to take center stage followed by the moon, not before noon and galaxies twirl and planets spin, world without end. Amen. He made the decision to make me, so surely, He can show me how to be, how to sort through life's scenarios whether complex or simply common sense.

Meanwhile, I watch the flashing red of the cardinal couple flitting through our backyard bushes, gathering twigs, pecking dried sprigs and I wish them well in their 2022 nesting decision-making. Likewise, I wish you the same clarity and competence in every decision you make each day.

Note to the Cardinal Couple

No, don’t do it.

Not in the front yard in the tree near the bench

beside the big flowerpot overlooking the street.

Last year’s decision was a near disaster.

Don’t you remember?

Perhaps it never registered in your brain, but it was

I who saved you, I who argued with my husband

(something I’m loath to do). I told him emphatically:

Don’t prune the tree yet. The cardinals are still feeding nestlings

I know, I can hear them daily was what he said.

He cut limbs anyhow, then told me how careful he was not

to disturb the nest. I did not reply, not then, not later that night.

I don’t know if you know the trauma your nestlings experienced

but please, best to avoid the drama this year.

Do not nest in that tree again. Your family will not rest.

I suggest you avoid the entire front yard. There’s a pandemic

still and we’ll be outside often—with a series of visitors.

I see daddy bird all decked out in his red robes darting around,

checking the crevices at the top of the wooden rose trellis.

Not recommended nesting venues either.

This year the rose bush looks dormant—late, cold spring.

There won’t be full foliage and bountiful blooms to hide your house

so it’s best to relocate, to negate old habits. Start a new trend.

You don’t have to take my word for it. I’m only a gardener.

Feel free to consult a realtor.

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