Monday, February 27, 2012

Inspiration for our nest

I love bird nests. They are such beautiful works of art, with each one so unique, and each one woven with different found objects from nature. I started a small collection of nests when I lived in Maine. When I was packing up to return west, I gave my collection to my dear neighbor, who had a collection of her own. 

My husband Mike comes across a lot of abandoned nests when he's in the field for work. All of these nests are ones he has brought home to me over the years, which I tucked away for safe keeping. 

They are all so distinct, equally rugged yet graceful. Each fragment of their construction is so fragile on their own, yet woven together they collectively become strong.

This wirey nest is woven together with a mix of fine thread-like branches, what looks to be horse hair, with a little fishing twine thrown in for good measure. I found the robin's egg on one of our walks. On its back is a sweet little hole from which the robin chick popped out. 

This nest is an intricately woven wheat vessel.

 I love the wheat flower tucked in along the rim. 

Plastered with dry dense mud on its exterior, this clay nest is sturdy and strong. Feathery golden grass blankets the interior.

The plastered exterior. 

When Mike brought me this moss nest, it was almost electric green. Even now, several years later, it still smells like the damp lush Pacific Northwest woods. 

The downy moss. 

This is a Maine nest. It was the very first that I collected, and it is the only one I brought with me when I moved back west. She is one of my most sentimental momentos from Maine, reminding me of the many hours I spent in the Maine woods. 

This nest also reminds me of my dear neighbor in Maine. When I gave her my collection of nests, she shared with me a story about her mother who had recently passed away. Her mother loved birds, and made it her practice to always set the hair from her brush outside for the birds to use in their nests.

Her mother had been ill for several months and finally passed away in summer. By fall, my neighbor was closing her mother's estate and while walking in the garden, noticed a bird's nest visible through the barren autumn trees. When she looked closer at the nest tucked safely between the cradling branches, she saw that the sweet little nest was woven with beautiful white shimmering strands of her mother's hair. 

I'll never forget that story, especially when I see a nest and recognize all of the beautiful unique items used to create it. 

As someone who is passionate about the warmth and coziness of our home, I admire and respect the birds loving devotion to creating a warm and safe place to cradle their young. 

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