During my daily walks around the neighborhood with Ranger, I often see this sight:
Yes, it's a birdhouse. An aged, weather-beaten birdhouse that is obviously in an advanced state of disrepair. The paint is peeling, a section of ramshackle roof is missing, and given its jaunty angle, I'd say the support system has rotted through. The shrubs have grown up in front of it, pressing it backwards against the fence.
It's been this way for years.
This birdhouse looks sad to me, and I feel so bad for him. Not only is he rundown and neglected, but he is clearly being ignored. His owners can't see him from their yard, and have probably forgotten that he even exists back there behind the bushes.
There is a big part of me that wants to reach over the top of that fence, gently lift this poor fellow off whatever broken thing he is attached to, and carry him home with me.
I want to wash him off and repair his roof. I'd like to rescue that lovely worn old paint that gives him such character. Maybe I could brush off the loose flakes, and apply a few coats of a waterproof sealer to keep out the rain. That should do the trick.
Then I want to rig him up on a new post, and give him a fresh start on life in my garden. Maybe he would like to meet my little birdhouse. She is a sweet thing, rather old and worn herself. But trust me, she is sturdy and sound; I looked her over and gave her a fresh coat of sealer just this past month. I think her rustic charm would compliment the new guy's style very nicely.
Honestly, it hurts my soul to live with something that is broken and run down, when I can see a way to improve it. This applies not only to birdhouses, but to messy closets, sibling fights, frustrated algebra students and oh, so many other things in life.
Yet I've learned that sometimes, my help is not wanted. Rather than diving in to fix what is wrong, it is my job to leave things alone and let those more directly involved handle the situation themselves.
This type of restraint is very hard to practice. But it is a form of love that the world often needs, and I'm hoping to get better at it.
Wish me luck.
P.S. I still want to get that big birdhouse and fix it all up. Would it be wrong to take it?
P.P.S. Yes, I know...that's called stealing and it's so, so wrong.
P.P.P.S. I still want it.