August Farmer's Calendar

"It can be a hard thing to know how to help a fellow being, even when you have the ability to do so and the best of intentions. Misunderstanding thwarts good will.

Recently a blue jay became trapped in the dusty attic room above our woodshed. The roof soffits are open, and there is an open staircase from the ground floor. The jay simply flew up. It might have simply flown back down, as well--but no. It flapped and fluttered around up there, banging into the closed window, occasionally uttering a cluck of perplexity.

I went to help. I found the bird perched on a rafter tie, out of reach. When I approached, it flew off and crashed into the window, after which it sat on the sill. I tried to catch it there to release it, but it flew back to the rafter. This went on for some time. The bird wouldn't help itself, and it wouldn't be helped. I didn't know what my part was in breaking the impasse.

At last I realized that I didn't have a part. I opened the shut window and went about my business. A couple hours later, the jay was gone. It occurred to me that here we have an image of helping relationships, an image with broad application. When we would be of use but are not, we might reflect that if doing nothing is the only thing to do, then doing nothing is the best thing to do."


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