Curiosity, Envy and Waxwings

A flock of Waxwings just arrived in the giant oak tree that shades my patio. It doesn’t give much shade right now, as it has recently lost most of its leaves. I can see them sitting in the branches of the tree, silhouetted against a grey sky. Smaller than robins but larger than sparrows, they are about the same size as the oak leaves themselves. There must be at least twenty of them, and the Waxwings are doing something very odd.

They take turns dropping in waves to the ground. They’re not diving – it’s not quite that intentional. They just sort of flutter to the ground in waves, looking like oak leaves released by a gust of wind.

Then a few minutes later they fly back up to the branches of the tree – which is distinctly un-leaf-like.

They repeat this cycle for several minutes – dropping out of the branches to the ground below, then swooping back up into the branches, only to drop again soon after. In this gloomy almost drizzle, I get only glimpses of their Cleopatra eye-markings, flashes of yellow against buff, and pointed crests.

Up and down, up and down, up and down – to my neighbor’s backyard on the other side of the privacy fence.

I can’t see what they’re doing; I assume they’re eating. But what? What is over there? What have they got that I haven’t got? The neighbors probably don’t even know the waxwings are there, and wouldn’t care if they did. I do; why aren’t they coming to my yard?

Ha! Listen to me. Envy over visiting birds. It’s a fine line between curiosity and envy, between “What is over there that they’re so interested in?” and “What have they got that I haven’t got?” When did I step over the line?

When my ego got involved. Me Me Me. Feeling less than. Feeling self-righteous. Feeling better than. Less Than and Better Than at the same time. How silly is that?

I laugh at myself, then choose to sit back and enjoy watching them and just be grateful for that.

And maybe I will go peek over the fence.

Photo Credit: Ken Thomas ( (personal website of photographer)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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2 Responses to Curiosity, Envy and Waxwings

  1. FaeNathara February 10, 2012 at 4:11 am #

    Oh boy did I need to read this this morning. For the third time. Deep breath, all is well, just do my thang and go with it…. Thanks again!

  2. Susan February 10, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    Hi Nathara! Glad it helped – my pleasure!

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