Snowbirds – 5 Acts of Kindness in 5 WeeksPosted: February 6, 2011
“Even a small gift could mean so much to someone today.” – Chinese Fortune Cookie
In my attempt to live my yoga every day for a year, I’ve decided to complete five acts of kindness or charity in 5 weeks. The third week of my project turned out to be pretty simple.
As the snow piled up these last few weeks, I’ve noticed how quiet the forest behind our house has become. We can usually see deer, geese, raccoons, hedgehogs, mice, birds and squirrels. With the ground covered in snow for so long, their foraging has been limited to dry leaves on downed tree branches. We went out and bought a gorgeous handmade birdhouse, filled it with birdseed and installed it on our deck.
Nothing. No animal action at all. I couldn’t figure it out. The animals must be desperate for food, right? Why weren’t they flocking to our deck and gorging themselves to the amusement of our watching cats? Maybe it was the cats. (Never!) After seeing a tweet from Nancy (@yoga_mydrishti) about animals needing distance to feed, I decided to give up the fancy birdfeeder. This morning, we threw handfuls of birdseed off our deck onto the snowy forest floor below. Within minutes, birds and squirrels congregated, full of excited birdcalls and tail-twitches. (Our dinner guests are the little specks towards the bottom of the photo above.)
Not a life-changing act of kindness, I know. But an important lesson was reinforced – you can’t help someone else by doing what YOU think will help them. You must meet them where they are, even if it’s not what you envision. Also, you can’t throw money at a problem looking for a solution. The animals didn’t want an expensive handmade birdhouse – they wanted food thrown on the floor. It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective.