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Red-breasted Nuthatches and ….Dinosaurs

December 19, 2012
Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch

That little nuthatch badgering away at the dried sunflower outside my office window is as intent and focused on her survival as I am on mine. In the whole sweep of the earth’s, and probably in the universe’s history, the fate and activities of that nuthatch are as significant as my own. She eats, sleeps, makes more nuthatches and otherwise tries to survive as long as possible. And maybe, when judged by evolution, that is enough.

Many eons ago, Pterosaurs with feet as large as my car probably hung around what is now my office. Then a meteorite came and heralded the mother of all climate changes and the death of the dinosaurs and most of life on earth. Mostly.

Birds may be the most obvious heirs of the dinosaurs in my world. That is not so hard to believe when you see a Great Blue Heron – you could almost imagine them as a modern day Pterodactyl. That nuthatch and I have a lot in common, though. We both had ancestors that survived and left offspring that also survived all the way down to today. So maybe surviving is enough – it certainly is important!

Red-breasted Nuthatch taking advantage of sunflower seeds.

Red-breasted Nuthatch taking advantage of sunflower seeds.

But still – the most important moment of time for either that nuthatch or me is right now. This second. Because I cannot predict the future – that belongs to the children of the future – whoever and whatever they become. And I cannot change the past- that belongs to those persistent ancestors of mine. The only piece of time that I and the nuthatch really have is right now. And this second – this right now – is not to be wasted. I doubt the nuthatch blights a sunny day with worry, anger, or regret. But does she sit in the snow on that perch and wonder what my world is like? Does she look around and marvel at the world around her? I don’t know and I suppose not. But somewhere among our human ancestors – hammered and honed by evolution – someone was born who wondered about her world. And she gave birth to children who were also dreamers that treasured the moment.  I am certainly grateful to all my ancestors for my own existence.  But  I am particularly thankful that in this bright, snowy and sunny moment  I can fancy sharing it with a nuthatch.

The sunflowers are a favourite food item.

The sunflowers are a favourite food item.

All photos and writing on this blog copyright J.A. Siderius

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