Petra update

Here’s the latest Petra update: she will probably lose the sight in one eye, she was covered in scratches and the feathers of one wing were completely stripped. It’s rather amazing that she survived the attack — I like to think that Bernie protected her, but I rather suspect she has her own inner toughness. Sr. Lilli Ana often reminds me that an accidental step on a plant will either kill it or toughen it up. Petra may turn out to be one tough bird.

She has spent the last two nights in my room, which smells a little too much like a barnyard right now. I’m playing nature sounds on my computer for her. I suppose this is more for me than for her, but it makes me feel like I’m contributing something to her well-being.

And she is doing well. The eye still looks pretty bad, but she eats and drinks (a very good sign), and she chirps happily, allows us to administer her medications with a minimum of fuss, appreciates our attention and shows interest in what’s going on around her. I think she’ll make it. Last night she snarfed up a good-sized bug I found in my room. Death for life. Energy exchange.

I spent some time researching raccoons today, trying to find an acceptable place in my heart for them. They are an aggressive, occasionally violent animal, in spite of their rakish, cuddly appearance. They are sort of the cockroach of the mammal world. They give as good as they get, and occasionally go out there and attack just to remind everyone else they are there and a serious life contender. They can cause major headaches for humans, taking houses apart as well as killing ducks. They can muck up a chimney in no time, and are almost impossible to remove. I suspect the next attack will occur in our garden, probably on our tender corn crop.

But this is how the Earth has always worked: competition among species sharpens the senses and the skills and wisdom of all the participants. As Brian Swimme says, be sure to pick a worthy “enemy” if you want to grow and thrive. It will demand your very best. And it will demand your respect, too.

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