So there I was, walking across The Meadow towards the huge, hopefully abandoned nest that was beckoning me forward like a huge nest beckoning forward a guy who's so bored from staying out in the woods for 12 hours a day that he thinks watching fern fronds unfold is fun.

Ah. The teen years. Mine were such a disaster.

Anyway, right. So the plan was to get to the tree, channel my Inner Monkey, climb the tree, peer into the nest, be rewarded by whatever I saw there, come back down, and go on my merry Nature Boy way. And the key to pulling this off, I knew, was to throughout it all emit such harmonious, spiritually balanced, At One With Nature vibes that it would occur to no animal observing me that I could be of any threat whatsoever.

Perfect! I was St. Francis of Santa Cruz, for sure.

All was silent as I bipedally made my way across the meadow. I knew I was being watched, of course, by about a gazillion bird eyeballs belonging to the half a gazillion birds perched in all the trees ringing the meadow. But my stride was so smooth and calm, my manner so peaceful and undeniably trustworthy, that I could just feel the birdy love surrounding me.

I was, I knew, amongst friends.

I came to the base of the tree--a huge, gnarled behemoth. Above me--maybe six feet above me--loomed the nest of my desire.

Big trees can be so hard to climb. On this day, anyway, my Inner Monkey had contracted arthritis or something, because instead of my usual graceful and athletic self, I found myself stuck being Spaz Boy of the Wild. I think I was just stiff from sitting so long. I don't know. But right away climbing that tree became like wrestling Frankenstein. I couldn't get up the thing. It had on its trunk these little hard swells, these ... lovely trunky lumps, that I kind of used as footholds, and I ground my fingers into wherever I could get any sort of grip, and slowly but not-so-surely I made my way upward. It was pretty ugly, though. If that tree was interested in having anyone climb it, it sure wasn't showing it.

About a half hour later I was off the ground about six, seven feet, when I heard the single bird cry that I instantly recognized as the first of the terribly efficient Bird Alarm System (BAS).

[Expletive deleted.] Not good!

Why was this happening? Why had I been tagged as a threat? I wasn't a hawk. I wasn't some raven come to eat anyone's eggs, or move into their nest. I was a benign appreciator of All Things Nature. Why sound the alarm?!

Stupid birds. They're so stupidly instinctual. They're like little panic-filled machines.

So instantly--half-way up a tree, banged up, off balance, barely hanging on--I had to make a choice: Do I jump down now and Back Away From the Tree, or do I quick scramble my way up just a few more feet, and finish the job.

I had to go for it. I had to see what was in that nest--what the inside of such a nest even looked like.

As Columbus had to see the New World, as Lindberg had to see France, as Edison had to see the light, I had to see inside that giant bird's nest.

Besides, we're talking about birds here. I figured, what could really happen? It's not like birds ever actually hit people or anything. It's not like some giant bird was just going to fly right at me, and knock me off the tree with its surprisingly heavy body weight, its terrible talons of doom, and its perfectly pointed, four-inch Beak of Steel that it could use to kill a grizzly bear.

Like that could happen.

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