We have exposed beams in the eaves of our front porch, and every spring we are witness to the adventures of house wren nesting. This week we found a baby bird, not yet ready for flight, on the ground beneath the nest. The chick was so delicate, its inch-long wings perfect. It opened its beak to me and there was nothing I could do. We tried to find the nest, but the labyrinth of nooks and crannies made returning the bird impossible. By morning it was dead.
Another year we had the great fortune of witnessing two birds leaving the nest at the appropriate time. First, the birds tumbled their way to the ground. Stunned, they hopped around for a minute and then their mother dive bombed them in order to get them flying. They flapped one flap, then two, then rested a moment. Momma bird dove at them again. This continued in fits and starts for almost half an hour until they made their way to the trees and out of the open region of our yard.
Sometimes the risks we take are less about the what and more about the when. We’re in a hurry to get on to the next new thing, but don’t have the fortitude to plan. Maybe the hesitancy we feel toward a particular decision is not a “no,” just a “not now.” Sometimes the obstacle that stands between us and a new adventure requires dismantling. Sometimes it disappears on its own in time. But patience need not be passive. It can involve active preparation for our goal. Just as we sense the need for change through our intuition, if we listen closely, so too we can sense when the timing is right.