Of a Feather

About a month or so ago, a bird started building a nest in the wreath hanging on our front door. By the time I noticed it, the wreath was already fully formed, shiny-new and in mint condition, prime real estate nestled in a quiet spot at the top of a door we never use. I was so upset. I hate that ugly wreath, and knew I was stuck with it on the front of my house for the rest of the summer.

It’s funny, though, to watch the progression of that little baby birdie home. In the beginning, it was a perfectly formed cup of sticks and twigs, soft tufts of dandelion seeds, all intricately woven together in a tidy little aviary. The mama bird sat over her eggs in this bowl every day, alert and expectant, fixing this and that little piece until the entire place was to her liking.

And then the babies came. And now I’m laughing, if only in solidarity with the mama bird.

Oh, that poor nest now. THE NEST. Twigs are broken. It’s lopsided, with one side all banged up. If you peek inside, all you see are feathers and dog hair scattered around, haphazard and messy while the babies just step over it, around it. The mother perches now on the very edge of the thing, tossing the food to her little ones, not even brave enough to go inside. There is crap–actual crap–everywhere. The mom is dashing back and forth, from tree to nest to lawn to nest to garden to nest again. She’s constantly on the move, either flying around, or warming the babies, or coughing up some good ol’ regurgitated worm (organic and locally sourced, of course) for the tiny mouths that are constantly, constantly open and thrust upright, begging all the time for food and attention. She is so harried. I think I saw her look at me one time and sigh.

The nest, though. It is one horrendous looking sight, I have to tell you, perched on top of our ugly wreath on the door we never use. And I love it. I want it there forever, that constant point of validation wedged in between a silk hydrangea and the glass of our storm door. Because as long as that mama bird and her brood are there, as long as that nest is intact, hanging precariously from the top of those fake polyester daisies, well…

my life just looks normal.


  1. Leah Ferguson | 17th May 13

    Thank you for reading, Marsha! It does definitely make me feel like this is the way it’s supposed to be–and that I’m not failing on those days (uh, weeks) when everything falls apart.

  2. Marsha Mentzer | 16th May 13

    I love this piece. It is consoling that other animal moms are just as harried as human ones and their offspring just as messy and demanding as human children.

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