Joan is the smoother of ruffled feathers, literally and figuratively.
A flock member gets blown across the yard? Joan is the first one to pick the bird up and check for bent wing tips. One flock member thinks another member took more than their fair share of the suet ball? Joan leads a feelings sharing session ending with hugs and high fives.
Don’t ever make the mistake of equating nurturing with mild though. Threaten one of her own, and she turns ferocious. Like the time the falcon flew too close the roost.
Before anyone could stop her, Joan took off like a shot from a canon. Landing on the raptor’s back, clinging for dear life, Joan pecked at his head until he begged for mercy. With one final poke and a stern admonishment to keep to the other side of the forest, she let the poor beast be.
The entire flock is her family, and nobody messes with her peeps.
Samantha is ancient. Her joints ache, her feathers have lost their youthful sheen. Her chest is sunken, and her belly protrudes. She never ventures far from her hole in the pine tree and spends most of her time sleeping.
Yet, Samantha is the most respected bird in the flock. She is the Wise One, the Crone, the Oracle.
She has seen and experienced more than the other members of the flock collectively. Little phases her and she doesn’t shock easily, although youngsters try.
All the members of the flock, in fact all the local critters, go to her seeking advice. She listens intently, only interrupting with questions prompting deeper thought.
By the end of the session, the seeker feels lighter and enlightened.
“Thank you so much, Samantha. I know exactly what to do now! Your advice is brilliant!”
The reality is, Samantha never utters a word of advice. At her advanced age, she knows we all carry the answers within ourselves. Her brilliance is drawing it out.
George is a realist. Whatever statement is made, he invariably responds with “Yes, but x or y could happen.”
He’s not ornery, saying “black” just because you say “white”. Nor is he a pessimist. A pessimist expects the worst to happen. George doesn’t anticipate dire outcomes; he merely points out what could go wrong.
Making plans with George goes something like this:
“It’s a perfect time to go frolic in the bird bath.” “Yes, but has anyone seen the cat?”
“The cat went inside. We are good.” “Yes, but cats always want out when in. She could come back outside.”
“Then we will fly away.” “Yes, but if we are all enjoying the water, we might not see her.”
“Okay, we will take turns watching for the cat.”
It sounds exhausting, and sometimes there is collective eye rolling. However, George has saved their feathers more than once. In fact, he is the sole reason they are all still alive today. The flock was all for enjoying a lightning storm while roosting on the TV antenna.
“Yes, but ….”