12 March 2012

Lessons in nature

nest| nest
a place of refuge
a place to live or raise offspring
a snug or secluded retreat or shelter

Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. 
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; 
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; 
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs,
and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.

There are many kinds of nests.

A human ‘nest’ can range from a favorite chair or corner of the couch to one’s entire home. What is more comforting than the feeling that washes over us as we step over the threshold into our cottages? There is above all the inexplicable sense of contentment, of leaving the world behind and entering a place where we are safe, surrounded by the detritus of life that we cherish: books, shawls, porcelain, chairs, paintings, teapots, chess sets, souvenirs of our travels, not only to exotic places but our travels through life. There is also the sense of belonging that comes from knowing we are in a place we made, a place that—barring disaster—can be ours for as long as we wish. Certainly there are human interlopers, insect invaders, financial setbacks and natural plagues of water and wind to fear. But for the most part we feel our nests are inviolable, a fortress in which we can relax, be safe, be home.

Nests built in trees, thickets and warrens by small creatures are a more fragile thing, a temporary place for a mere season’s activity. And yet the care and courage that goes into making them seems no less remarkable or human-like. Bibs and bobs of twine, feathers, cardboard, plastic, mud and twigs are fashioned painstakingly over several weeks, the inner chamber pressed and formed into something safe and welcoming—home and cradle from birth-to-flight or birth-to-scurrying.  There is always the danger of swooping hawks, carnivorous ravens, or climbing felines. And of course there is the tragedy of too-weak wings not seeing a young one safely through its first flight, or new little legs that are not swift enough to outrun a predator. And still the nests are built with instincts that seem unfazed by possible failure.
I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.

D.H. Lawrence


  1. Hello dear friend,

    I'm finally finding a little time to do visit with my blog friends, yay! I stopped by to thank you for your sweet comment and especially for your support and friendship. I must say I really love this post.

    Have a lovely week,


  2. Thank you, Abby! I hope you're enjoying what looks like the start of a beautiful Spring!