The day was mildly warm and balmy.
Perfect for tree climbing and bird watching, the young girl noted happily. Samantha, although thoroughly girlie on Sundays while dressed in frills and hair ribbons, was now clad in torn cut off jeans and a tee shirt, hair caught up in a sloppy ponytail that stuck out the hole of a grimy hat pulled down to shade her eyes from the afternoon sun. Her sneakers fairly new, nonetheless sported grass stains upon their soles and edges.
“School’s—out—school’s—out; teachers—let—the—fools—out!” she chanted in a sing-song voice as she jumped up to catch the lowest hanging branch of the massive tree out in her grandparent’s ‘back forty’, a book clenched between her teeth.
Not as daring as some of her guy friends, Sammie usually could surpass the efforts of other girls, today being no exception.
“OW!” as she skinned her already scabbed knee across a rough branch, startling some birds into flight above her, “sorry, guys; it’s just Sammie. You can come back now—didn’t mean to scare you.”
Nothing did Samantha enjoy more than to commune with her little friends here up above the human spectrum. She opened her bird book, perching firmly on her favorite limb as a few leaves tickled her cheeks upon their descent to the ground. Where was Mrs. Robin and her mate? As she sat there, motionless as a totem pole, the little girl focused on the glorious multi-colored leaves lightly blowing in the wind.
“Dear Jesus, the things you make are SO awesome!” she silently praised.
An angry blue jay, head comb bristling, interrupted her worship with sputtered squawking and with beady eyes bulging, he dive-bombed into the leafage above. Abruptly, the hapless bird departed, a pearly blue oval egg clutched in its claws as it winged its way effortlessly up and away.
“Nest robber! You ought to be ashamed of yourself!”
Sam dropped her trusty bird guide during her angry tirade, but hardly noticed as she focused on the robin’s deserted bird nest in a branched alcove a few feet above her outstretched hand. She had watched Mrs. Robin preparing said nest for the past few days, preparing a bassinet of sorts for her to lay precious cargo, but had missed the blessed laying event itself while in school. Mrs. Robin was nowhere to be seen and feeling responsible for the future offspring, Sammy rescued the three baby pearl blue eggs left after the robbery. She scooped them up, placing them in three separate jacket pockets while she dismounted from the empty tree. She returned home and placed them on some soft flannel underneath her grandparent’s desk lamp and sat down to await the hatching . . .
“Child, I know how bad you feel, but you didn’t know any better.”
“But why didn’t God stop me from taking the eggs away?” inconsolable, soft-hearted Samantha felt herself no better than a murderer.
Her grandmother, at wits end, recalled a happening from her own childhood that she shared with the sad little girl:
“I was out berry picking for Ma and saw a cocoon in the bush branches. It was throbbing and I could see that the butterfly was struggling to get out. Thinking to free it by punching a little hole in the pouch, I watched happily as it was released from its prison. But it didn’t develop properly and had not the striking colors it should. After a little while, it drooped and died. I kept that cocoon in a little cotton-batting box for years to remind me that if we ourselves don’t have any struggles, we do not develop the strength and beauty that God has planned for us.”
So Sammy gathered the hollow little pearl blue eggs that were slowly turning gray and placed them in a cotton-batting box to remember not to interrupt God’s natural order for his creation. In years to come, whenever she was going through a tough time in her life, she would open the box and remember the pearl blue eggs and the empty cocoon and trust that God was making her a better and stronger and more beautiful person.
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