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Wings Of Passion

by Donald Mehl  
4/20/2009 / Short Stories

I must share a confession with you. It's long past time for me to admit being involved in a passionate, on-going love affair. Even though it has gone on for a very long time, I've never felt any shame or guilt, nor have I ever had any second thoughts. The affair has simply brought much enjoyment and excitement into my life.

Although the passion is ever-present, the flame deep within my heart always begins to burn with a white-hot intensity in late April or early May of each year. The raging passion will continue throughout most of the summer months.

Then, one day in the early fall, a night will arrive bringing the cooling breezes that usually signal the end of the hot summer season. Sometime during the hours of that night, the object of my love and affection will disappear without warning just suddenly vanish without even saying goodbye.

Each year when that happens, it feels as though I've been abandoned for something better, or perhaps just tossed aside like an old pair of shoes. Although I will always experience a great disappointment, I know the passion will linger simmering in my memory until late spring, when the flame will once again be re-kindled.

At this point it's only fair to tell you that the nature of my love affair is probably not what you might be thinking. It's all about the house wren families that come to reside in my backyard, and steal my heart each spring.

My affection for those delightful creatures began years ago while I was growing up on the farm. You was my grandmother's love for them that started the whole thing. It really wasn't my fault. I just happened to be there, I was young and impressionable, and I soon fell victim to the wren's charming ways.

Grandma had several wren houses mounted on poles, and others hanging from tree branches around her yard. Most of them were carefully positioned so they could be easily seen from the windows of her home.

Each year in the spring, grandma would begin her "wren watch" ritual by sitting in a rocking chair with her eyes intently focused on the wren houses hoping to capture the moment of the first arrival. As usual, she always seemed to know when they would show up. On that special day, grandma, with her face beaming and with a broad smile, would joyfully announce, "The wrens are back!"

The male wren will be the first to "discover" the little house. After a quick inspection of the place, he will haul a few small twigs inside. Then, he will either sit on the rooftop, or perch on a nearby branch while singing his heart out in an attempt to attract a female. How could a female wren resist his loud, clear, bubbling trill? It's a wondrous arpeggio of successive tones - a sure signal that love is in the air!

By the way, unless you are an avian physiologist, or just another wren, you wouldn't be able to distinguish the male from the female. However, it's my understanding that only the male has a singing voice. Except for several soft chirpy sounds used by the female to communicate, she is usually silent.

A female will soon respond to his call. If, after a thorough inspection, she approves of his housing choice, she will stay there. If the female doesn't like it, she will move on to better things causing him to start over in his search for love and family.

Once they've staked a claim on their little homestead, once the vacancy sign has been removed, and once the serious nest construction has begun, then, woe to any outside intruder that would attempt to peek inside their doorway. They will protect and defend their newly found home with the ferocity of a pit bull. I like that kind of spunky attitude.

The female will lay several cream-colored, rusty-swirled eggs each one not much larger than a jellybean candy. Two weeks later, the eggs will hatch producing a family of featherless, but hungry "kids". The parents will be very busy with almost non-stop feeding stuffing the little mouths with bugs, grubs, and worms.

The babies will grow quickly. About two weeks after hatching, they will leave the nest to be entirely on their own. It's fun to watch the youngsters during the last few days before they venture out of their cramped little house. Tiny beaks can be seen poking out of the entrance hole as the young wrens climb over one another each trying to get a better view of the strange new world outside. Sadly, many will not survive in the cruel world, but others will, and will soon produce families of their own.

Often times during their relatively short stay with us, the parents will fly over to perch on our deck railing. The male wren will then burst out in song as if to say, "Thank you, thank you, thank you...for providing a nice place for me and my family. We hope we have once again brought some love, some joy, and some laughter into your life."

When the wrens leave at the end of summer, they will fly south into areas of warmer climates. They don't travel together, but instead, make the trip alone - each of them flying 1,000 to 1,500 miles to southern homes. Just try to imagine those delicate, but gutsy, little birds with wingspans of only 5 - 6 inches making that trip without getting lost. I don't fully understand how they do it. It's definitely a God thing!

Then, imagine a grandmother sitting in her rocking chair somewhere near or beyond the US/Mexico boarder with her young grandson at her side. It's now late September or early October, and "wren watch" time has begun for them. It'll be a special moment when grandma's face lights up again and she can finally announce, "The wrens are back!"

And...the passion goes on.

* * * * * * *

Genesis 1:20,21 NKJV
Then God said, "Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens." So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

God in His infinite wisdom created everything that exists, for His honor and glory. We learn from Gen. 2:15 that God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden to care for it, and have dominion over every living thing (Gen. 1:28).

Adam was given responsibility for naming all the living things (Gen. 2:19), even the tiny wren. Like Adam, we also must nurture, protect, and enjoy the magnificent creatures of God's handiwork for they are often dependent on us...and we will be richly blessed.

During retirement, my prayer is that I might serve the Lord by sharing the Gospel through my writing. As the Lord leads, my work will inform, challenge and encourage. I also enjoy Biblical theme woodcarving, Bible studies and Christian music. Watch, pray and keep looking up!

Donald Mehl

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