For the last few weeks we’ve been tip-toeing around our backyard.

We didn’t want to disturb our new neighbours. For the last couple of weeks we’ve been watching loving parents care for their newborn children, and we wanted them to have the space they needed to do what they needed to do.

In the ugly, rotted out, twisted tree trunk in the middle of our backyard where our clothesline attaches, a family of starlings have made their home. We watched with interest as the parents carried materials needed for their nest deep in the trunk. We awed in the amount of work it took to feed their new hatchlings as mom and dad starling were flying in and out constantly to satisfy their crying babies. We delighted in seeing their heads pop out of the hole waiting for mom or dad to return.

Then over the weekend it stopped.

We have a lot of stray cats in our neighbourhood that we have been chasing away on a regular basis as they have taken interest in our little friends.

We arose one morning to a different song. Instead of the eager chirping of the babies, it was replaced by the mournful song of a parent. We can only assume the cats finally got what they had been looking for.

Now entering our fourth day, I watch as the mother stands on top of this rotted trunk singing her beautiful song of love and mourning and looking around. Popping in and out of the nest in a frantic search for her children. Her purpose in life is now ended, and she is clearly in mourning.

I think of the fragility of life and how quickly it can change. It reminds me of Eccliastes 3:1-8

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Enjoy the time you have. You never know what tomorrow will bring.