How To Find Love. Or Maybe a Hamburger

Image by Peggy Dyar from Pixabay

My husband Bill and I have begun the long, arduous process of getting our flower beds ready for summer.

It used to be one of my favorite things to do. I loved working in the garden. I loved the dirt, loved selecting and buying the flowers and vegetables, loved the way everything looked when it was freshly planted and mulched.

Now, not so much.

Now, gardening seems like a lot of work. I can think of five or six things right off the top of my head that I would rather be doing on a warm sunny May morning. Nevertheless…

I was in our backyard yesterday, edging and mulching a flower bed when I heard him again. The oriole.

He was singing his song, hoping to entice a female oriole to be his mate.

Oriole males sing in a loud repetitive warble. You can’t miss them.

This guy has been singing his heart out for the past week or so. At first, I found it touching, listening to him call over and over again, hoping to lure in a female with his song. He never gave up.

As days passed without a sign of a female oriole in the area, I thought I noticed a hint of desperation creeping into his voice. “Isn’t there a partner somewhere out there for me? Please?” I pictured him saying. I may have been anthropomorphizing.

Then yesterday, I heard it. It was faint, coming from far away, but there was no doubt about it. Another oriole was singing, answering the little guy’s call.

This other oriole is not a female, it’s another male. Female orioles do not call for a mate. They select the call they wish to answer.

The second oriole call, however, was an excellent sign for “my” oriole.

You see, when orioles advertise for a mate, they use the same strategy fast food restaurant chains employ when they wish to determine a new restaurant location.

You might think that the best place for a new hamburger joint would be across town from an established one, but you would be wrong. The best place to put a new hamburger joint is right next to the old one.

That way, when people are deciding where to buy a hamburger, you have a 50% chance of getting their business. Maybe more than 50% if your burgers (or your advertising) are better.

This second male oriole calling from across the way is good news for the first oriole. Not only are there now twice as many calls broadcasted out to reach females but “my” oriole, because he was in the area first, has the best location.

He is literally sitting smack dab in the middle of oriole heaven – a mulberry tree. Orioles love fruit of any kind, and mulberries ripen just about the time baby orioles hatch. A perfect place to build a nest.

I am now feeling much more hopeful about his chances of finding a mate. As my husband says, “A lid for every pot.

I am learning (slowly) to be patient.

It takes a certain amount of patience, confidence, and hope to allow life to play out the way it will.

There have been many times when I want something to happen now, if not sooner, but learning acceptance has increased my level of contentment.

Letting go of attachments is one of the principal tenets of Buddhism. Worry is the consequence of desperate clinging to a desired outcome. Suffering is the result of unhealthy attachments. How can we learn to loosen our grip? Through meditation.

Saint Paul, in his letter to the Romans, teaches the same thing: ” Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

He tells us that the way to be more joyful, to have hope is to be more patient. How can we be more patient? Through prayer.

I have read books about meditation and thought about the verse from Romans many times before, but it took the hope, persistence, and joy of the oriole’s never-ending call to bring it home to me: God holds each one of us in his hands. 

The oriole, through his search for love, helped me in my search.

I am now keeping a sharp eye out for female orioles. Because they are leaf-colored, they can be hard to spot.

I have hope, however. I have patience.

And I can pray.

You can find the places I link up here.

113 comments

  1. Interesting twist to the post, Laurie, I didn’t see where that was going.

    Non attachment is a big thing in Yoga, too. It’s definitely not easy for me though!

    I really admire your knowledge of birds. I don’t know anything about them really, but I’m interested in learning more.

    Good luck with the gardening. Maybe it’s time to scale back on that? Although I understand that’s hard when you already have an established garden.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Non-attachment is not easy for me either. I have to remind myself all the time. I used to go birding a lot more than I do now. At one time, I was fanatic about seeing as many different species as I could each year. I am ready to move to a house with a smaller yard and MUCH smaller garden! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a lovely story with a marvelous conclusion about patience and prayer. I would never have come to the conclusion that your oriole has a better chance at finding a master with a rival nearby.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A lid for every pot! I’ve not heard that saying and I love it. Gardening is fun, but work-y. Over the years I’ve lowered my standards from “must be perfect” to “hey, look at that, it’s growing!” I call this more mellow attitude an example of aging gracefully.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ally, gardening is getting more and more work-y for me as the years go on. It’s less work-y than…cleaning the bathroom, but not as much fun as going for a run.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As always, a great post, Laurie. I especially like your definition of worry.

    I am reading a book about Antifragility (growing under stress) and the writer (Taleb) said we should think in terms of options. It occurred to me reading your post that this would also prevent us from desperately clinging to a desired outcome.

    Looking forward to reading about the baby Orioles soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am going to have to look up that book. When I retired as a teacher, the current buzzword was “resilience”. I thought a lot about resilience and how to cultivate it.

      I hope I have baby orioles to write about in a month or so! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Laurie, this post made me smile as I have so enjoyed watching the birds return to our yard. It is amazing the lessons God has planted in all of His creation to continually point us back to Him. May we keep hoping, stay patient, and thus have joy as we wait upon His promises.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are so many lessons we can learn from observing and thinking about God’s good creation. I hope to always pay attention and learn!

      Like

  6. I love so much about this post, Laurie…the truth about facing the garden–of whatever one’s ‘garden’ may be (perhaps dealing with homeownership, period!)…the oriole story…and most of all, attachment. I’ve spent years reading about non-attachment–during times when it was really just reading, learning, digesting, and moving on. But recently I’ve entered a new season of actually *applying it*. Of becoming a [little] less attached to outcomes. Even with my garden!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I used to love gardening too. Especially when I was a teacher and had the whole summer off.

    Then I changed jobs and my interest declined. When I started traveled, I almost stopped other than some hanging baskets that required no work.

    Last summer, due to the Pandemic, working from home and not much else to do, I started gardening again. yes lots of work and frustrating since the deer ate many of plants or the weather killed them.

    I will try again since I am still at home.

    Back to the topic at hand. i am the LEAST patient person I know. Ask anyone.

    I also find as I have gotten older I am even less patient.

    But I am trying to be more patient…especially with others… that comes with accepting that others are different and have different timelines, values, personalities, etc.

    But most important is to be patient with yourself. So I am running slowly, no watch, no pressure, racing with no finish time goals – Spoiler alert: it is not easy lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I was a teacher, I saved one of my (2) precious personal days for early May to work in the garden and plant out my annuals. It was something I looked forward to all year.

      I also lack patience. I wonder if it is a runner thing. It is NOT easy to be patient with ourselves. I tend to compare my race results with those of a few years ago. Ugh!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Laurie, I loved your object lesson about the Oriole (and hamburgers). God teaches us so much from His creation! Acceptance is the key to patience, for if we accept the now we no longer strive for what is not. I also think the Oriole read the book of Romans, for Romans 8:25 says, if we have true hope for what is yet to come, we then wait for it patiently. He knows a female will choose him, he just has to be faithful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes!!! I always learn so much from observing God’s beautiful creation. You are right about acceptance. That is the root of patience. That oriole was waiting patiently for what is yet to come! πŸ™‚

      Like

  9. I am working in the garden too, and it is more pleasant when birds are nearby. I had never heard of the burger restaurant strategy before. I guess it works for other things too. Like it is easier to find a job when you have a job. You may find a mate when you are not looking or are already dating.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. OK – it owuld be great to hear and see the orioles, but I am still through with gardening. Someone has to be here to admire other people’s beautiful flowers and appreciate their work. That is my role — appreciator! (And I do take your larger lesson for which all that is a metaphor to heart!.)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Awww, Laurie. I loved this post. And I LOVED what you said about worry being, “the consequence of desperate clinging to a desired outcome.” So true. We need to entrust our concerns to the Lord. We can be like that oriole, calling out and waiting for the right time for God’s answer (or a female oriole, in the case of your little guy). Such a great lesson in your words!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beautiful, Jeanne! We CAN be like the oriole waiting patiently for the right time for God’s answer. I know you have written about this topic several times.

      Like

  12. I loved reading your thoughts! Orioles … all bird calls …are a joy to hear,.My husband and I did our first garden clean-up today and I realized I’m not as young as I used to be. I still enjoyed it but I did not get as much accomplished as I hoped. One day at a time!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. When I first moved to Gettysburg, my 1/4 acre lot seemed huge compared to my postage stamp sized lot in DC. We decided to farm it. Tomatoes, beans, beets, peppers, etc, etc. After about 2 years, I realized that digging in the soil just isn’t my thing. After one more year, I gave it up completely. Susan still gardens (perennials), and I provide labor when necessary, but I’ve since found it interesting that something I thought I’d like so much had zero appeal. Is it time to scale your garden back?

    Liked by 1 person

    • When we first moved to our current location, we consciously chose a property with a big lot. Now it just seems like a lot of work. I am ready to downsize to a smaller house with a much smaller yard. We are looking kind of halfheartedly. House prices in Lititz are crazy and they sell quickly. It IS time to scale our garden back.

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  14. Hi Laurie – I read and re-read this sentence: “Worry is the consequence of desperate clinging to a desired outcome.” and I’m going to ponder it some more because there’s a lot of truth hidden in it. I think I’ve gotten better about releasing my desire to control everything and get the outcome I’m attached to, but now when worry creeps back in I’m going to think about what I’m clinging to and the fact that worrying won’t help me get there any quicker (or prevent me from not reaching what isn’t mine to have).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am still working on releasing my desire to control outcomes. It is difficult, Leanne! I have been a worrier for most of my life. Maybe for as long as I have been a mom.

      Like

  15. Oh, how sweet to listen to birds singing in spring! We’ve been missing our mourning doves that were in the trees last spring… maybe they didn’t survive the winter, or have found new digs. Anyway, we’ve heard cardinals, and wrens mostly. I noticed yesterday a red winged blackbird… so I know summer is just around the corner. It’s still kinda chilly here, with frosty mornings…rare for so late in the spring. I’ve got a very very small garden area… about 2ft x 2ft, if that. I threw some marigold seeds on the soil and finger combed them a little about two weeks ago. I was just about to give up and go buy a few already grown, when I looked down last eve and noticed seedlings everywhere. πŸ™‚ I love marigolds. They’re not at all pretentious, and they will keep away other insects. Besides, I happen to like their little orange flowers and smell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have 2 different types of wrens, cardinals, and mourning doves here too. Red-winged blackbirds down in the meadow below our house. I love marigolds too. They are so sunny and cheerful! I planted some around our patio.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh how I love how birds find love. We have these budgie’s where we live. The male is so pretty and has red under his wings…The female is so drab. I love watching them. As for the garden…I love flowers but I am no gardener. Lucky my friend and housemate and carer loves to garden. Im happy to water though lol..He is busy getting the garden full of winter flowering yes we are heading for winter here.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This was such a beautiful post, Laurie! And I learned about a bird I didn’t know existed. I’ve never been particularly interested in birds – but maybe now I’ll have a look at them and notice their behaviour. I have plenty of birds around the house and while I love hearing them sing, I’ve never really taken notice of them otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Susanne. I have always loved birdwatching. I used to be a much more active birder than I am now. I love the challenge to find and ID the birds I hear singing.

      Like

  18. I loved this post. I had to google to know what an Oriole sounds like, as we don’t have them in the PNW (at least I don’t think we do). I grew up for a time in Ohio so I’m familiar with the bird but forgot their sound.

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  19. The birds have been active singing here, too. I’m glad I don’t have a big garden to maintain. This year it’s a small bed of frequently used herbs. #Weekendcoffeeshare

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  20. How neat to have an oriole! I’ve never seen one but we have a pair of cardinals who live in our hedges that make us smile… We call them Mr and Mrs Red Bird lol

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    • Tracy, there are usually so many orioles on the York rail trail. I hear them all the time every time I go there. You could have listened for them during your marathon! πŸ™‚ Sometimes they can be hard to spot. They usually hang out at the very tops of trees.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I bet I’ve heard them and just not known that it was their call! I’ve learned the cardinals’ call and can hear them outside at times even when I can’t see them.

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  21. I see a Baltimore Oriole in the Park from time to time, but the male only, no female. I like the way Bill classified this poor male anticipating a mate. πŸ™‚ You morphed from the mulching and yard work, to the bird and patience, all tying them together so smoothly.

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    • I am hearing them EVERYWHERE this spring. You usually only see the males. The females are fairly nondescript and hide. in the leaves. They do not call like the males do, either.

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      • They are beautiful and bountiful this year and they’ve been back about a month already – no hummingbirds around yet though. The people get them visiting not only with oranges but bird jelly which they love. I follow my former HVAC guy on Facebook. He and his wife have a Wild Birds Unlimited store and they tell all the favorites for our local birds. I saw and heard a beautiful goldfinch this morning; he was just singing his heart out.

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      • I saw my first hummingbird on Saturday. We were at a friend’s house for dinner (first time in over a year!) and she has lots of different kinds of honeysuckle planted. The little guy was visiting one of her red honeysuckle plants. I have never heard of bird jelly. I will have to Google it. I love yellow birds and yellow flowers – my favorite color!

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      • And I saw my first hummingbird this year and I’m sure it was Hope, my hummingbird from last year. I didn’t put out the feeders yet as I’ve been following the migration patterns and a Facebook site that tracks them and they weren’t here. I walked out the door this morning and she buzzed right by me, then a return trip (I think to chastise me for no food). I’ll put it out tomorrow and hope for the best. I’ve seen the pictures of the oriole feeders and them enjoying both oranges and the tray below is filled with bird jelly.

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      • Hope must have been early this year – ahead of the curve. A friend was telling me about a good movie on Amazon Prime about hummingbirds. She loves them too. Unfortunately, I don’t get Amazon Prime. I have never heard of an oriole feeder. I must look them up and put out some oranges for my oriole.

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      • I have Amazon Prime, so I looked and unbelievably there are several hummingbird movies. I don’t have cable, so have been enjoying Mad Men on Amazon Prime. I worked in the Creative Department of an ad agency when first out of school, so I have really enjoyed this show. You can put up a board with a nail in it then shove the orange through. I remember Shelley (Quaint Revival) did that and attracted some orioles to her feeder.

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      • The one my friend was talking about was narrated by David Attenborough. I will have to try Shelley’s technique. I haven’t interacted with her in a while. I should check out her blog again.

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      • I did see that when I perused Amazon for the movie. I’ve seen other videos by David Attenborough and they are enjoyable. Shelley has not been blogging as regularly and this was likely a year ago with the pictures she posted.

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      • I love the nature shows he narrates. He has done so many over the years. No wonder I have not been in touch with Shelley in a while. I always enjoyed reading her posts.

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      • Yes, I used one of his videos in a post one time but cannot remember which one. Shelley and her husband spent about six months rehabbing one of their rental properties around the beginning of the pandemic. She did not post during that time, then had some issues with her blog, then the Block Editor, so kept staying offline. Several bloggers who posted regularly have omitted photos or posted in a gallery style as they are not comfortable with the block editor. That’s unfortunate.

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      • I didn’t have too much trouble converting to the block editor. There are some aspects I like better than the old WordPress. I do my typing in classic style, though. It’s too bad bloggers were dissuaded from posting due to technical issues.

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      • It’s funny because I went to the block editor in April 2019 as we had ordered our Windows 10 desktops and laptops at work and I figured I didn’t want to be bogged down with learning too much new stuff at one time. Just now, as I just mentioned in another comment, are we ready to go to Windows 10. Sigh. I didn’t find it too difficult either and I one day have to tweak my blog site a little. I am hoping when I go to Windows 10, I won’t find the site looks out of proportion or has visual issues. I’ve had the Windows 10 laptop here for almost two years, but since our work computers were not configured, I didn’t use it except to do updates once a month. I know several people who posted a lot of pictures as they were interested in photography (not professionals, just hobby photographers) and are doing without photos or using just one.

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      • I don’t think I have been using Block Editor as long as you have. I have had the same laptop the whole time I have been blogging – about 3 1/2 years. I haven’t changed anything since then. I am scared to! πŸ™‚

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      • I’ve not tweaked my blog either – I like the design and template as it’s simple and it is “2010 template” and no longer available – I’m afraid to stray! All I’ve done is add my 50 favorite photos along the sidebar, but I’ve not updated that at all in two years. I wish I had a Mac – I have to have Windows to remote in and right now we are in the process of converting over to Windows 10/Office 365 … I will probably continue to do my blogs on this older laptop for a while until I am fully acclimated to the new interface, not to mention the new laptop which is a Dell and I’ve always had HP laptops.

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      • I’m afraid to stray too! Maybe I shouldn’t feel this way, but I think if your writing is interesting, the blog design is not that important. I used a Mac the whole time I was teaching. When I retired, I never considered any other type of computer. I am used to it and I like it, even if it is more expensive than a PC. Bill uses Windows, and I have a hard time using his computer.

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      • I agree with you Laurie – you do not need the pizzazz if you keep your content interesting. I like the design to be easy to read and not cluttered too. I have always heard good things about a Mac. I don’t have much use for Windows with its constant changes to platforms and I resented Microsoft rolling out Windows 10 a few years ago and by doing it in the middle of the night if you took too long to decide if you wanted it. I reverted my camera to Window 7 the very next day.

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      • I like an uncluttered design too. A male blogger started following me and commenting on my posts. I like his blog, but it is SO difficult to navigate. I just want to read his latest post and I can’t find out how to do it.

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      • I’ve had that happen too. When someone new follows me, I always go their site – some of them boggle me as they’re too busy and sometimes I can’t find the person’s name on their site, just their blog name which is often the same as the blog.

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  22. Coming in late and under the wire but glad I stopped to read this. I am a “city girl” that is what my husband tells me, we both know i am really a beach girl. But I have fallen in love with a bird sound that some consider annoying. Since the church I serve is in rural Bradford County, surrounded by dairy farms. Sundays and other days I get to hear a nearby rooster, and I love it! Call me strange. Good luck with the garden and thanks for the site, also I took a quick look at Singapore birds. One of the very cool connections of blogging, yes? Be well and blessings, Michele

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, Michele. My Colorado son keeps chickens. He inadvertently got a rooster mixed in with his last batch of chicks. Unfortunately, the rooster would crow early every morning and disturb his neighbors (and his wife). He was going to turn Mr. Rooster into chicken stew, but found a collar that is supposed to prevent roosters from crowing. The lucky rooster got a last-minute reprieve. His neighbors are not of the same mindset as you!

      The connections we have made from all over the world is definitely one of the best benefits of blogging! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  23. We have two male orioles that visit our feeder and they have literally been getting into fights with one another! I had to go break it up one day when one of the poor birds flew into our window (I thought it was our fault but no the other bird knocked him into it!) then proceeded to sit on top of the stunned bird. Luckily once I shooed the aggressor away and gave the stunned bird some time to recover he flew off too. Seems like it’s real high stakes around here!

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  24. I’m way behind in reading your posts, Laurie, but they’re always extremely worthwhile so I make sure I catch up to them. This one is no exception. I’ve long thought that Christianity and Buddhism complement each other wonderfully. And wouldn’t you know, an oriole figures in the novel I wrote that attracted the agent! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jan. I agree with you. There are many times when Christianity and Buddhism say similar things about the same topics. My DIL is a Christian Buddhist!

      I think orioles must be good luck! πŸ™‚

      Like

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