Home sweet home.

During a walk earlier this summer, my daughter and I spotted a small, coarse, brownish lump in the grass. Upon closer inspection we realized what it was: an empty, tattered bird’s nest, likely blown out of a nearby tree.

Nowhere in the vicinity could we see any remnants of actual birds or eggs, so we picked it up gently and brought it home, tucking it safely in the shelter of a patio flower pot.

And there it sat, forgotten, until yesterday, when I asked my daughter if she’d hold it while I made a photo. For this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, Structure, we’re invited to share a picture of “the structure of something typically overlooked.”

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And this gave me the opportunity to observe and reflect on this little construction in my child’s hands.

Imagine the time and ingenuity it required for a tiny bird – innately a master builder – to weave this thing, strand by strand, maneuvering materials with its mouth. All this work – despite the fact that most bird species, if I’m not mistaken, don’t re-use an individual nest once the babies have matured. Both the task and the product have a specific purpose, and no time or effort is wasted.

Which makes it even more wonderful when I spot a bit of avian interior decorating:


This was snapped last winter, when the barren landscape exposed this bit of chic nest décor, which would’ve otherwise been hidden throughout the rest of the year.

I find it liberating and also a bit disheartening that a bird can – once the function of its nest has been served – part with this handiwork (seemingly) without much fanfare. Here, of course, I’m presuming to understand, or possibly invent, a bird’s emotional connection to its nest.

It makes me wonder about our own attachments to the buildings we call home, and how much the structures themselves, aside from all the practicalities and conveniences, influence our emotions related to them. Why do we consider them more than just material things? Would we feel any differently about them if they had no cost? Would we be willing to build them from scratch, with found materials, and using our own hands? Would we be willing to abandon them and start all over again next spring?

I think that’s enough pondering for now. The structure I’m currently sitting in needs to be vacuumed, and I don’t think I’ll find any birds to help me do it.

Thanks, as always, for your visit 🙂