Throwback Post: A Butterfly Effect Redux: Birds, Humans and Relationships

Saturday morning Mick and I were up early preparing food for the Bedlam tailgating festivities.  We decided a grocery store run was inevitable and made plans to go together, thus dividing and conquering the massive WalMart Super Store.  I was finishing up something in the kitchen when Mick walked in and looked at me.  He said, “Kelly.  Something bad happened.  Do want to see this?”  He hesitated.  “I’m not sure you want to see this.”

His face conveyed the kind of message sent when a pet dies, or one of our children has broken a bone.  So then I hesitated.  “What happened?” I asked.

“A litle bird somehow flew into our garage and got stuck in one of the glue traps.  It’s really, really stuck,” he responded.

“Well, let’s see if we can somehow free it before we think about other options.”  I was thinking out loud.  I knew it would be frightened, so I grabbed a tea towel, a pair of kitchen shears and headed to the garage.  I was just thinking that when you want to lead a horse somewhere, sometimes you cover it’s eyes.  Maybe cutting out any outside distractions would help it stay more calm.  I wasn’t thinking that the tea towel would ALSO get stuck in the trap.

Here's the little birdie before our excruciating rescue mission. We were so worried about its eye, but it turned out okay! According to our bird identification book, we think it was a house wren. So sweet!

The back half of the bird and one wing were working frantically, flapping away at a futile task.  The remainder of the bird – two feet, one wing, one half of its face and it’s chest area were stuck tightly into a brand new, Made-in-America, heavy duty glue trap.

Out here in the crosstimbers, we have snakes and other pests that sometimes get into the garage.  Our pest control service had put the glue traps down only the week before in order to catch any snakes not warded off by the “Snake be Gone” pellets he had spread.  Unfortunately, some kind of worm had gotten trapped, the bird spied the worm, and now the bird was trapped.

Thirty minutes, one spatula, three pin feathers and hundreds of tiny clipped down feathers later, the tiny bird was free, but worse for the wear.  We took him to what we felt was a safe place in the yard and set him free.  He hopped and flapped his wings, probably testing whether or not he could fly.  We assumed he could preen some percentage of the remaining glue residue himself, but still aren’t sure how he fared.  When we returned from the grocery store, he was gone.

As I began to make my “Cowboy Caviar,” I started thinking about the consequences of my actions.  At no time when I had approved the glue traps did I think about a consequence for the birds.  I was only thinking of avoiding another incident where Rylee had spied a small snake at the garage door on her way to school.

I wondered what other decisions we had recently made that affected other animals, or people, and wondered how far the “Butterfly Effect” had gone – and to what conclusion?  I considered our large composter we refurbished this past year.  Although all shiny, new and painted green now, with a nice new sheet metal body, we had decided to place it in our backyard as opposed to the side of our house because it was large.  And, perhaps “unsightly” for the front view of the house.  But now, in our back yard, our neighbors have to look at it when they go outside.  Did it bother them?  Did I even ask?  No.

When it comes right down to it, I usually make decisions about people based upon me, them and perhaps those within the “once-removed” relational framework.  I rarely, if ever, think about how my decisions might affect those down the chain.  For the bird, it was the “food chain” consequence.  For people, it’s the “relationship chain.”

So my thought for you today is to consider not just you, not just those close to you, but those close to them as well.  Think about the chain, and make sure your steps and choices are certain – – – all the way down to the last link.  Or at least, think about how that link might be affected.

Perhaps when you take into account the Butterfly Effect (or the Glue Trap Effect), your choices will be  slightly different.  Who knows?  At least now we can give it some consideration, huh?




6 thoughts on “Throwback Post: A Butterfly Effect Redux: Birds, Humans and Relationships”

  1. Kelly,
    what powerful thoughts. It is often to hard to see very far down the road, but I believe that our intentions and motivation are intrinsically tied to the direction of our actions and their ultimate consequences. Your thoughts?

    1. Dear StayJay:

      When I read your comment, I thought about two theoretical constructs with which I am familiar…one is “equifinality” (multiple paths toward the same end result) and the other is “multifinality” – multiple results from the same path. It is my ethical and conscientious belief that INTENT and MOTIVATION help us as individuals to be okay with whatever the result is…because that’s what we have control over. However, if our intents and motivations were ill conceived, then even a positive end would not really ever be okay in our heart of hearts. Make sense? – – – RDK

    1. True, Paula – lots of me, entitlement, self-focused inertia out there, for sure. Take care, Kelly

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