The Nest

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” Some of us think holding on makes us strong;  but sometimes it is letting go. “

~ Herman Hesse

The nest appeared in the yard after one of winter’s first snowfalls.  I hadn’t noticed it, until a warm day followed by a frigid night had turned all snowy surfaces hard and slick. Heading back after a morning walk, the nest unexpectedly caught my attention, seemingly afloat in the middle of the snow covered yard.

How did I not see it on the way out?  Had it been there all along, or just arrived? Looking up into the tree canopy surrounding the yard, I wondered where it had been built and what tiny birds it had sheltered. 


The center, that womblike place where the bird’s eggs were held and hatched, fledglings nourished and protected, looked so small compared to what surrounded it: a circular woven tapestry of twigs, lichen, shreds of tree bark and blue plastic from a disintegrating tarp.

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Considering the nest had most likely toppled from significant height, maybe been tossed about by gusts of winter wind, it was still in good repair. A bit disheveled, but structurally sound and beautifully constructed.

But abandoned. Which is what most birds do.

When a nest has served its purpose, birds move on. Off to other things, maybe a warmer climate, or safer location. But no looking back at the time, skill, resourcefulness and perseverance required for nest building. No attachment. 

I thought about moving the nest back into the woods, finding an inviting cradle of tree trunk and limb to rest it upon. It seemed neglectful, wasteful, indeed almost disrespectful to not honor the creative efforts of birds who delicately care and nurture their offspring.

But this is a human dilemma, certainly not avian. Birds do not ponder such things. There is no reason to.  With singular purpose, and without attachment, they simply build another nest when the time comes for nest building. 


6 thoughts on “The Nest

    • Thank you Janet- the colors truly did capture me. The smallest bits of nature can be so very compelling… so glad to know the words and photos connected in your view. I appreciate you taking the time to read and respond. xo


  1. What a wonderful post! The quote by Herman Hesse reminds me of rock climbing. The first lesson I learned was to lean away from the rock when climbing, do not cling to it! This will help you climb to the top. I remind myself of this lesson frequently as I love to hold tightly to people, situations and places. Thank you Ellen. I will be reading the other posts as well! Risa

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think of you and I reading each other’s posts in such very different parts of the world…. astoundingly wonderful. And now I can add rock climbing to the many things about you that demonstrate your bravery! I’m so glad Hesse’s words resonated with you…. and thank you for reading and responding! xo


  2. When I have an object like this–for instance right now I have my old beat up straw yard work hat and a 2015 Moon Phase calendar–I will burn them in my fire pit to honor them for their service and send them back to the earth. Other times I think composting or recycling. The birds set you an interesting problem. The nest itself will compost, recycle or burn–but what about that strip of tarp? Truly a human dilemma.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love rituals with fire, so primordial. But you are right- the bits of plastic tarp should not be burned. I’ve decided to return the nest into the woods, where it’s materials will be available for recycling by those oh so resourceful birds… thanks Diana, for reading and responding!


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