A Nest Flies Away

When I was walking home, I saw a curious thing rolling towards me.  It was small and light; it was blown across the sidewalk like a bite of tumbleweed.  Or it could have been spools of dust drummed up from earth by a confused wind – bursting into confused shapes as it bounced off the sidewalk.

I walked towards it – it was momentarily still, shaking and weary in the indeterminate breeze.  I looked closely.  It was a bird's nest.  Made of countless threads of dried grass and stripped twigs, it was a woven home, a knit of natural things, gently made through the diligence of two sparrows.  Little bursts of life, with songs of boldness and pride, they built their nests every Spring, following the commands of the DNA coursing through their veins.

And now the results of one couple's homemaking lay at my feet.  The nest was the color of dried flax, and it was the size of a cupped hand.  The middle was hollowed out and lined with pale, winsome feathers.  Down, plume, semiplume:  the parents had dug deep into their breasts to tear out a cushion of warmth that would complete a bed destined to protect a chorus of helpless lives.

Once part of a sparrow commune hidden in the shadowy, airless eaves of the welcoming houses, an errant wind had lifted it from its moorings like Dorothy's prairie home, and taken it for a ride of confusion on the airy columns, streams and currents.  Only instead of stopping to crush a witch, it stopped in front of me.

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14 responses to “A Nest Flies Away

  1. Lovely! Did you take it home? Those are the kind of rare-ish things I would display on a shelf… maybe find some leftover egg shaped candy from Easter to set inside.

  2. I like it when we occasionally get these reminders that the world doesn't actually belong to us.

  3. Lovely image!Spring cleaning at the Sparrows' : Old nest is SO last year – it HAS to go to make space for new fancy nest. That's also how you get rid of all the fleas from last year… which is why I don't bring used nests inside without some treatment or other first. I saw the first starlings this weekend. Checking out a nest box. Spring time is cooooming, right around the corner.

  4. most likely the reason we can never go home.

  5. wonderful story. did you keep it? Like Drude said you could debug it and give it a new home for something.

  6. *big smile*Aren't they miraculous?DNA is marvelous stuff. I think it's "god".

  7. "Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?"("Why, I'm not a witch at all. I'm Aubrey Gale, from LA!")

  8. poor nest… but lucky that you found it… its quite a treat to see how hardwork actually delievers beauty…


  9. I love how you tell a story. I am always left with mouth open with a small gasp inward.

  10. I like this! The last line is great. I think the parent birds always sound so agitated in the Spring. This is a very good piece of writing.


  11. some excellent words and phrases in this too.

    Lucy, who read it again

  12. One can hope that the nest had served its purpose and was abandoned. Or was one disused and shaken free. Whatever brought it to your feet, beautifully told.

  13. I do hope you kept it… so that all the energy and effort of making were not wasted – even to be appreciated on a shelf is not so sad an ending as decaying in a rain soaked gutter?

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