Friday, June 17, 2016

Little by little, the bird makes its nest



I walk in the mornings. Somehow I knew that it would save me, my body moving forward in space while my heart was reaching back over the ocean. My shoes are old but barely used, bought on an assignment with Remi in Vancouver many years ago with the aim of exploring further afield. 

I follow the sidewalk circling the blocks of the subdivision, fast-paced, arms swinging. It is a movement I remember from my past, even further ago, when, penniless, I would head up through Central Park for an hour and a half, chasing the chimera of an adult self not yet born. The houses I pass these days are closed up. I can never understand it for they are all lived in. For some reason, people seem to want to say, "We aren't home." It is the opposite of what I want. 

When I first arrived back to the States, I brushed snow out of my eyes, then the crocuses rose; now the trees wave and I swipe away the heat. It is Monday and I am listening to Tara Brach speak calming words in a podcast, spooling out a future of possibilities, through borrowed headphones. Buddhist insights mixed with pragmatic psychology. I am so focused that I nearly crush the little half moon on the sidewalk, blowing sideways, tumbleweed. Pause pressed, I bend down, sunglasses lowered, to see.

It is a fallen birds nest. I straighten back up, hand perplexedly on hip, to discern from which tree. But it is stolidly in the middle of a nowhere. My nowhere. I crouch back and pick it up, unthinkingly. Now it is scented with me. 

It must have been quite comfortable with its lining of cotton, puffed and shredded, a true find for a mama bird, welcoming. This light thing, so fragile in my hands. Grass carefully bended and pecked into shape. "Little by little, the bird makes its nest." This is a phrase that Remi and I shared so often, almost like a code. "Petit à petit, l'oiseau fait son nid." We built our lives over fifteen years and did so with such pride that only the first three words were needed to be uttered for an understanding to be passed between us like a wink. 

I let my heart fall into the softness between the twigs to rest, put the nest down and kept walking, my face whipped taught like a sheet. "Little by little"..."little by little"..."little by little" on Monday morning.

And then that rhythm of thought and footfall, repeating like a dance or pulsing like lights in the nightclub, one filled with bodies twisting joyfully. Friends and loves, flirtations and fantasy projecting into a future too, one stretching towards a weekend feel of forever, also with such pride, also solid yet free, but sucked so quickly into the void, bullet-snuffed.

"Petit à petit" my tears could fall, sliding down my chin to tap the concrete. 

It didn't make sense but it did to me, that eventually - not immediately but eventually - I changed my steps stumbling to come back to that nest. I chose a tree, the one with the right branches and tucked it up as high as I could reach. It was too late, too late for so many things but I wanted it to be safe. So that maybe, somehow, one day those possibilities that I had held between within my fingers could be wishing true fulfilled.



I check on the nest every day when I pass by just to make sure it is still there and am thinking of it now, looking out the window as an early summer rain comes down. Because it is so fragile. As we are, yet strong enough to make a home out of the best in us. And we do.

I am sending so much Love and Strength to the families, friends and loved ones of the victims of the terrorist attack in Orlando.


53 comments:

  1. Sometimes even very well-built nests are dropped from their branches. We can only hope the universe will offer a helping hand in giving them a second chance. But it's rare to have the opportunity to be the helping hand as you got to be. A good feeling on a bad day.
    As for Midwestern notspitality, it really is a problem. One of my neighbors always tells me she gets such a kick out of how I talk to everyone who walks by. What am I supposed to do? Pretend I don't see them? I drive by a huuuuuge beautiful park lawn every day and I have never ever seen children playing or adults lounging on it. It is surrounded by houses on three sides!

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    1. Stephen, you are a the all-time champion of mixing levity and humor...and you do so with suce grace.
      I experience the Notspitality on a near daily basis but my tactic is to just wear them down with dogged kindness!

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  2. Life, carefully sheltered twig by twig, a bird’s nest, is fragile and can be snuffed out “so quickly into the void”, dreams shattered, by a bullet.

    Your walk expresses your deep feelings.

    With our love and faith we have hope for a new dawn.

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    1. Exactly, Edgar. One rising every day as you have often reminded me.

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  3. The birds probably already left the nest. You will, too. You are on a journey, many steps taken, many more to take. But one day you'll realize with surprise that you've arrived. Promise.

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    1. That's it! You will arrive ....
      bonnie

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    2. Bisous to you both - two beautifully generous women with a keen perspective, thriving as expats in France...

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  4. Beautiful post dear Heather.

    Love, hugs & prayers for you ~ FlowerLady

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    1. You always have such kindness Flower Lady. XO

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  5. Three separate skeins all skillfully woven together like that nest. I am with you on that walk: every step of the way.

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    1. I am too, even though I have times of silence. Leslie in Oregon

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  6. Dear Heather - Thank you for your beautiful honest reflections.

    I recently spent several days reading through Ellie's HSD archives - and your lovely comments were a constant thoughtful companion. You kept showing up. You acknowledged and embraced the dark and the light. You generously gave back. Your steady, loving, gentle spirit simply glowed. What a remarkable and honorable qualities!

    Your grace-filled introspections enhanced w doses of exercise and healthy routines are time tested paths to healing. Wishing you peace.

    Dorothy in DC

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    1. Dorothy, I am so moved and humbled by your response. If anyone has inspired me to try and step up to the plate it is Ellie. She truly is even more amazing than I thought through her wonderful writing. She suggested from the beginning that I be honest here with what was going on with me. I was a bit too much of a wreck to do so for a while but she was right- it both feels better and everyone has been amazing.

      Thank you again.

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  7. Sometimes, just like the little birds who need to leave the comfort and security of the nest that surrounds them, we too, need to spread our wings and fly if only to discover the world of opportunity that awaits beyond the nest. Hugs. J.

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  9. You are such a lovely writer and gentle soul. I think you are on the right path...

    Marianne

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    1. Thank you so kindly, Marianne. I do hope that you are right. My best to you.

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  10. A beautiful, thoughtful and touching piece, Heather.

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  11. This, Rocket, is a Masterful Piece .. beautiful .. powerful .. Congratulations!

    Aloha et Au revoir,
    Bill

    Kauai-to-Paris.com

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    1. Much Mahalo, Bill. I keep meaning to send you an email.

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  12. Beautiful, wise beyond what you might recognize on the moment. Or maybe you do. In, of, belonging to Florida, Joan, Sarasota

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  13. Life is so fragile, it can change is a split second and yet the human spirit is strong and we can overcome most obstacles. Great post Heather love your writing. LuvL xx

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    1. Lillian, I have thought so much about my life changed after that several second long car crash. And yes, our spirit, collectively and individually, is amazing.

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  14. Poignancy, sadness, hope. You have captured them beautifully. Thinking of you.

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  15. Wonderful weaving together of the woven nest, your path, and the tragedy in Florida. What a writer, what a soul.

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  16. Beautiful writing. Beautiful thoughts.

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  17. This is so beautiful, Heather. Thinking of you. Sending bon courage.

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    1. Merci Kristi - je t'embrasse très fort.

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  18. Keep writing, keep moving forward, you are doing brilliantly. Xxx

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    1. Some days are better than others but you all help me so much.

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  19. That was so beautiful. Your writing keeps getting better and better.

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    1. That is a big compliment Loree. Thank you.

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  20. This was so beautifully written, a pleasure to read. Made me think of Guy de Maupassant, loved his stories, one about duck hunters, and The Jewels and also the necklace.
    Yvonne

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    1. Wow, merci Yvonne! I haven't read de Maupassant since my first university days but loved his writing - perhaps it is time to go back and rediscover?

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  21. You will be happy again, I promise. Been there.

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    1. How I hope you are right, Lisa. I am so grateful for the small moments of beauty and joy that I do have.

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  22. This is beautiful :)

    Bashaer x

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  23. Well Heather, I'm glad that everyone else has duly complimented you on the poetry/figurative connotations/spiritual implications/etcetera of birds' nests, but?

    It's 7:38 in the morning, here in this 220 year old house in North Carolina.....and I have finally (after six weeks) closed the front windows (which are in what was originally a 2-room,2-story log cabin in which the first governor's spinster daughter, Miss Polly Burke, taught school for thirty years.

    In short? We're not ALLOWED to install screens or storm windows on houses this old.....at least not in The Hysterical District. I don't think I'm even allowed to hang a bird-feeder from the front (it wouldn't be "authentically" 18th century). In any case?....three years ago, the windows were open during the refreshingly cool and lovely days of May....and, of course, two pairs of Carolina Wrens (they're tiny, but VERY bossy little birds) decided that the perfect place to build their nests was at the top of the pulled-up roman-shades in the room. so?.....I endured about six weeks (even when the weather had turned really hot, as it has now) of paying the mortgage on what is essentially a bird-nursery.

    The same thing has happened three years in a row (somehow, these birds remember where they last nested or were raised). I sat with a visiting friend in the front room about a week ago, and he asked "What the hell is all that NOISE?". I told him that it was probably about ten fledgling birds bawling for food, and at least four adult carolina wrens, shrieking their outrage over our invading THEIR nesting site.

    In any case (and I know my birds), everyone seems to have grown up and left through the open windows, as of two days ago. I just closed the windows this morning. I don't even want to think about what the air conditioning bill will be this month......but would you want to close the window and try to go to sleep at night, knowing that you were starving a batch of little birds to their early death???????

    All of which is as nothing compared to sitting yesterday at the kitchen table (having gotten up at 5 am, and wearing a pair of boxer-shorts and a t-shirt)....., all of a sudden, I discovered that a terrified (or, more probably, just profoundly stupid) possum was under the table, in one of the terrier's beds. I guess it got in through the courtyard door, which I'd left open over night. All hell broke loose as the ugly thing went skittering over my bare feet and ran into the other part of the house. I spent a good half hour trying to corral the dogs and persuade the thing to get OUT of the house, via any of the seven outside-doors I'd opened. Possums are very primitive....and it shows.

    Well, enough of this. I've had enough of nature (at least when it's decided to live in my house) for a while. I think you should visit here. you'd like it, I expect.

    As sincerely as ever,

    David Terry
    www.davidterryart.com

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    1. Thank you for being you, Mr. Terry. I have read this story a few times now. And thank you for the invitation as well. I know that I would love it there and a few days in your fine company would do anyone good.

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  24. Beautifully written. Nothing to add, nothing to remove.
    Sending you wishes for grace with every breath. r&g

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