The Wonderings of Kate
The last few months have been full of nests. I didn’t realize for several weeks that one of my Boston ferns had been a home for a mother wren. By the time I found the nest, it had been well used and then abandoned, as evidenced by the egg shell particles that lined the tiny dwelling.
The next nest I found was on the ground, perfectly intact and rather new looking, made of strong twigs and dried grass. I wondered how it fell out of the tree. Was it the wind or a fight between the mother and some other creature trying to harm her babies? Or maybe she had simply abandoned it, or never used it.
To human mamas, the nest is symbolic, a place to create a soft and safe environment. Many of us have felt the pull of the nesting instinct in the days before our children joined our families. I remember reading The Best Nest so many times that my eighteen month old memorized it word for word and recited it to himself in his car seat. We may mourn or welcome the emptying of the nest as our children find their way out into the world.
But what do we human mamas do when our nest becomes unsuitable for some reason? For the mother bird, this might be due to wind damage, or a predator, or a poor placement of the nest. For human mamas, it’s more complicated, and the myriad of reasons why we need to leave our own nest are far more complex. But for the mama bird and the human mother, the end goal is the same: a safe and nurturing environment for the creatures for whom we are responsible.
And so, we go about, feathering a new nest. It’s daunting and the human mother might wish for the bravery of the mother bird moving in response to her primal instinct. We find it in ourselves, eventually, to act upon that same natural impulse, weaving warmth and comfort and kindness into a secure foundation for our lives.
Today, I glimpsed a mother bird, I am not sure what she is quite yet but I hear her voice under my open window each morning, building a nest in my newly relocated tomato plant, inside my new nest. Affirmation, in the form of mother nature. Feathering a nest within a nest.