Empty Nest Syndrome

I’m suffering from empty nest syndrome. All the nests in my garden or which I can see from the windows are empty. The last ones to go were the house martins and I suddenly realised last night as I went to bed that I couldn’t hear the chicks in the nest above the bedroom window. The young dunnocks are still coming to the feeder but the frenetic activity of parent birds dashing about has stopped. The Jackdaw chicks in a neighbour’s chimney have stopped their raucous calling and all is quiet.

I’ve heard this morning that the oldest osprey chick from one of the nests I follow in Wales has fledged too, although it will stay around for a few weeks yet, and the other chicks will probably go this week. What will I do when there are no young ospreys to watch and learn from? What will happen in this new season?

Nothing stands still. Time is always moving on. For birds and bird watchers we have moved to a quiet season. The birds are now hiding while they moult in to new feathers; the nests are empty and it’s quiet.

It was as I was writing this that I looked at the news sheet and read Amanda’s opening thought.

“One of the greatest and saddest things about life, I find, is that time keeps moving as it does. There are moments which I wish I could freeze and remain in, but, of course, instantly every moment is relegated to the past and we move forward in chronological time. Sometimes, when life is too hard, I am comforted by the fact that right now will become the past and the future is coming, we will get past this, there will be a new day.”

Time comes and time goes. It’s all too quick. I want to enjoy today for longer; I want the birds in the garden to stay for a while yet. I’m not ready to let them go. But this is nature and I have no say in how long the chicks take to fledge, how long the parents will stay around the garden or how soon the ospreys will leave for the long flight to Africa.

Yet, like Amanda, I want the time of Covid 19 to pass more quickly. I want to be out and about again seeing friends and family and I want to choose my own bananas from the shop.

I’m not in charge of time. And all those things I want are things I want for myself.
I don’t know if you watched Gareth Malone and his pandemic choir. The song the choir sang at the end was written by a teenage boy, a Christian and it was very moving. The words were based on the fact that all storms come to an end and there will be an end to this storm too. There will be a new day.

Ecclesiastes 3
For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
God has made everything beautiful for its own time.


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