Thoughts on a disused nest.
During one of my frequent weeding sessions, they seem to be virulent this year, I came across an empty nest. The nest was lodged between some grasses and a raised bed. I immediately checked to see if there were any signs of life or devastation from an encounter that could have resulted in this abandonment. However, it seemed to be simply that the former occupants no longer required use of this intricate lodging.
As I handled the nest I became aware of its functionality and its architectural intertwining of individual elements that interlock without the need for binding agents. Its structural integrity was unbelievable, as it had clearly fallen from a relatively great height.
On inspection I suspected that it was an old bluetit nest as it was close to the conifer which they nest in each year. I am sure an ornithologist would be able to correctly identify this nest. However, for the purposes of this narrative, it is a bluetit's nest. Returning to the story, the nest was so densely interwoven with aggregated lengths that it appeared to slip into one dark mass.
I decided to place the nest on the chippings so I could study its complexity. Each twig must have been carefully selected for its physical properties. I began to trace the lines and intersections with my index finger, the surfaces were surprisingly smooth. I started to think of these structures as analogous with utterance chains.
Each twig was a unit of 'speech', a choice that the bird made. It had a clear beginning and end but was linked within the 'discourse' of the nest. These chains were never linear they reveal a history of nest building and link to the nests yet to be built.
As I continued to study the nest I began to think of the symbology at play in this concept of the utterance. The word 'nest' has a Sanskrit etymological source with the word 'nidah' meaning 'resting place'. The dwelling is a resting place, the dwelling can be a home. The home has several interconnected meanings. From the idiom 'home is where the heart is', the word 'home' is linked to 'heart' or 'hearth', which has an etymological link to Hestia the Greek goddess of the hearth or the home and of domesticity. The connotations of which conjure up images of safety and sanctuary, which is more notable in our current situation than ever before. However, just as this nest was empty it was symbolic of a heart displaced. The home is currently a place of arrest or internment for many. Further still, the home is a dangerous place for those in abusive relationships. These contradictory thoughts reveal the contradictory tensions constantly at play in the concept of the nest, of the home. It is both life and death, sanctuary and internment.