One of these days in my spare time, I’m going to write a book and entitle it Life Lessons I’ve Learned Under the Pergola. Several years ago in our San Antonio home, we built a 40-foot by 40-foot pergola that covered a portion of our back yard and shaded a small area of the deck. Latticework has encouraged the climbing roses to grow up the sides creating a walled garden, and the creeping fig claimed victory in taking the posts and becoming the roof. That creeping fig is dangerous — I was reluctant to sit still under the pergola very long unless it covered me. I never aspired to be a garden statue. This area virtually became a garden room and a haven for birds of all sorts.
I really like to ponder, and looking through that studio window gave me cause to ponder about many things. I watched hummingbirds dive bomb each other when there was more than enough food to go around — reminded me of greedy people. I saw small birds scatter when the red-shouldered hawk loomed above. Maybe you haven’t, but I’ve met one or two folks who cause other folks to scatter when they enter the room. I witnessed a golden-fronted woodpecker hammer the head of a European starling that tried to share the suet feeder — the innocent interloper and the powerful bully who’s already staked out his territory. Sound familiar? I’ve seen the scarlet-plumed cardinal perched on the same limb feeding his mate — I know mates who give that kind of care. You get the picture. Much to ponder under the pergola.
At the risk of sounding as though I did nothing else but gaze through the studio window, I must tell you about the pair of Bewick’s wrens that built a nest inside a nesting box under the pergola. My commitment to assist the birds in their spring nest building annually turned our patio into something that looked like the craft room after Vacation Bible School. There were bits of colored yarn, batting, and even lint from the dryer scattered in the shrubs. With all these provisions, yet this feathered, four-inch, stubborn whistler was determined to get a rather stout twig through the hole in the nesting box. I watched this for several minutes. He held this six-inch long twig tightly in his mouth as he tried his best to get it through a hole that’s only three inches wide. But, to my amazement, he finally angled it in sideways and deposited his treasure.
Why in the world would he work so hard at that? He did it because he’s a Bewick’s wren, and that’s what Bewick’s wrens do. It probably never entered his thinking that someone had provided the nesting box, trimmed the creeping fig around the opening, and placed within his reach lots of really soft and comfortable stuffing for his nest. He seemed to overlook that.
I think our Father must observe us like that sometimes. He provides all the necessary stuff for good and peaceful lives for us (that doesn’t mean trouble-free), and we spend our time trying to stuff other things into our lives that just don’t fit.
We do it because we’re human, and that’s what humans do. Oh that we might learn to accept and enjoy God’s wonderful provisions. By the way, I’ve moved from the City to the Texas Hill Country where my windows give me so much more to ponder, but I just still may write that book and change the title to Ponderings While Looking through the Pane.