I’m always thankful for Orthodox Holy Week and Pascha (aka Easter; Pascha is the Greek translation of the Hebrew pesach; both mean Passover, which is so appropriate). Amazingly, we have passed through them already, after our journey through Lent. I am thankful for the quietness of Holy Week and the opportunity to focus particularly on the foundation of our faith; I am thankful for the exuberant joy of Pascha as we celebrate the Feast of Feasts, the Resurrection of our Lord, the harrowing of Hell. Pascha is the only night of the year where I’ll stay up until 4 a.m., celebrating the Liturgy and then a potluck with our church family. It is a joyous time.
Early Pascha morning, I found myself chasing off death in the form of the neighbor’s black cat, who’d ventured into our yard to try to rob the mockingbird nest. I was awoken by the cat screeching as the parent birds showed their anger, so I quickly dressed and ran outside in the dark to chase the cat off. With a flashlight, I spent the next 45 minutes looking for the baby birds. I am happy to report that I found them, darling little fledglings who were not quite ready to fly but close to it. I held one in my hand after I caught him; he gazed at me with his dark eyes with solemnity, his beak and legs much larger than I’d expected. In fact, his little feet wrapped tightly around my fingers. It was quite touching. I put him back in the nest, which was built in our lovely jasmine vines right near the bedroom windows. The other one escaped me and ran into the thick nandina bushes. They peeped their pitiful distress calls and cried all morning, and eventually their parents started feeding them again. I even called a wildlife refuge center in case we needed to take them in. I humbled myself the next day by walking into a dog salon and asking for a bag of dog hair to spread along my fence line to keep the cats out. They seemed to think it would work. My own dog endured many hits in his rear end from the adult birds; it was actually very funny to see his surprise and shock each time; of course he was not injured. I am so happy to report that the baby birds are now up in the trees, not adept fliers but at least gaining competence. So far, the story has a happy ending.