A Day in a Life: Intent

Occupy bluebird box! - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Occupy bluebird box!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

One recent morning we noticed that a pair of wrens had taken up residence in a bluebird box in our yard. What I know about wrens is that their delicacy belies an underlying fierceness. Tiny and cute, they bob and flutter about, but they are warriors of the most impeccable kind. They chirp loudly and incessantly, very loudly in fact, demanding to be heard.

We watched as our new move-ins prepared their nest, poking sticks and grass through the hole in the bird box. When a stick was too long to fit in sideways the wren was smart enough to poke it in headfirst. I wondered if it was mere nature or did they actually have to think about it the way we humans do. The wren did not seem to think at all, it simply did what it needed to do to get the stick in. I also noted their impatient nature. If one of them was inside the box and the other arrived with a mouthful of nesting material, it just could not wait long before opening its mouth, announcing loudly that it was there, immediately dropping its mouthful of sticks and grass. Impatient, I thought, but the wren has so much energy that it didn’t seem to matter. In an instant it was back on the branch awaiting its turn to go in the box, a new clump of grass in its beak. As you can see, we watched them for quite a while!

It was a calm morning, and it was the weekend, and we felt honored that the bird box—probably a little too close to the house for bluebirds to take—was finally being occupied. Suddenly a pair of bluebirds swooped down and a scuffle began. Wrens and bluebirds were on the ground in a swirl of blue and brown; in the branches too, with wings fully extended and cutting, like drawn weapons. There was a lot of noise, the bluebirds peeping and the wrens angrily answering back. The battle raged for quite a while. It was a sight to behold. In fact, other birds appeared to watch. Robins and house finches, bluejays, and even a pair of goldfinches showed up and stood around on the ground, circling the fighting birds like spectators at a wrestling match. One of the wrens even dive-bombed me later in the day. I guess I appeared threatening in some way. Size didn’t matter, they were going to protect and defend their right to occupy!

In the end, the tiny wrens won. Their tenacity, their determination, and their fierceness never waned as they fought off their foes. I was pretty sure the bluebirds would never have wanted the box anyway, as they like their privacy and our human presence so close would have bothered them, but perhaps they just couldn’t resist the call to battle. Like a pair of roaming thugs, perhaps they simply couldn’t resist the challenge.

Afterwards, I thought about the wrens as tiny shaman warriors. Having set their intent to nest in the bluebird box they were not about to give it up. As tiny as they were, they were determined to maintain their ownership. They fought impeccably. As soon as the battle was over they resumed their nest making, assured that the bluebirds would not return for another attack. I paused and thought about myself, about the intents I have lately set. Am I that impeccable? I wondered.

A few days later, as I write this blog, I hear the wrens happily chirping away. I see one of them fly out of the box and the other poke its head out the hole. They are happy. They have great energy. They are firmly settled and working on their next phase of life, becoming parents and raising their young. I feel privileged to have been an observer of this part of their journey. They will not, however let me photograph them!

The wrens seem to live by certain rules. Once a decision is made they uphold it with utter determination, impeccably. They are fiercely protective of their right to live where and how they choose. They are warriors of intent. They also know how to play, how to let loose and sing out, boisterously and without restraint, daring the world to interfere, to try and thwart them from their intent. That, I think, is a warrior’s impeccability—to never break from the intent, no matter what comes from outside, no matter how grave or threatening.

This is what Jeanne asked us all to ascertain in her message the other day, to observe and learn, to determine what the signs and situations in our own lives might mean to us as impeccable warriors, intent on our own paths of change and growth. She asked us to constantly be aware of what is happening around us, and to use it in our inner work. If I had been too busy to notice the wrens, perhaps I might have missed an important message. If the wrens had not fought back they might have lost their home.

The wrens have taught me something about intent, about sticking to plan, no matter what comes along to interfere. By observing their determination to face off outside threat, I understand what it means to fight for what is right. I’m here now; I intend to occupy this space. This is my time; this is my life. This is where I belong and I will not give up. There is a lesson in everything as Jeanne implied in her message. We just have to sit with it long enough to discover what it might be.

Observing and learning from the wrens,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *