Beware of Gifts

(I wrote this during winter, haven’t shared it til now)

Danger lurks around us every second of the day. When I throw out bird seed to a bunch of sparrows, they just have a marvelous time, but they also have to keep an eye out for the neighborhood cats. I worried that I was setting them up for suffering, instead of giving them a nice, unlooked for gift. Then yesterday, I noticed the birds were gone, except for three, very still, not moving in the snow, looking like smudges. I thought, Uh oh. Then, a huge, beautifully colored, hawk-like bird floated by, low, a bit further up the field, and I understood. It was like watching the Lord of the Rings with the Ringwraiths on their flying dragons.

So, I thought, Should I continue giving the birds my gift? The gift could mean death if they are not paying attention. Then I thought, all gifts, all things in this life, have the element of mortal danger attached to them. Too much food, not enough—danger of obesity or other food related problems vs. starvation and thievery. Too much money, not enough—danger of greed and arrogance vs. poverty. Everything needs to be accepted with eyes wide open to the danger within us or to the danger of predators around us. So, I will still give the birds my free meals, because anything good, even with danger attached, is still good and happily appreciated. I love gifts and a helping hand, too. I mean, even a hungry hawk would appreciate a helping hand now and then, don’t you think?

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