Thursday, January 13, 2011
Walk in the Park: Empty Nests.
Today, the sky is soft, velveteen grey with slivers of light making it through the dense clouds. The path is wet and dotted with little puddles of rain and melted ice from yesterday’s frigid temperatures. But it’s not raining now as Jilly and I walk along the lake. We pass groups of geese gathered to feast on the remaining green grass. There are ducks swimming in the water, mallards and common goldeneyes, quacking away. It was cold, but now, this afternoon, it’s almost ‘balmy’ at 48 degrees. I don’t even need a hat or scarf; it feels so much warmer than yesterday.
But it is still winter.
As we walk along, I admire the bare, black branches of the trees silhouetted against the slate grey sky. There’s no snow or ice or lights or leaves to cover the bare tree branches today. I love seeing their bone structure, all the branches from the largest to the last smallest twig. But there’s something I’ve haven’t really noticed before today.
There are bird nests perched in the branches up high in the trees. Dark, twig baskets sit nestled between tree trunk and tree limb. Empty.
Some trees have only one nest; others have as many as four, making some trees single family homes and others multi-family apartment complexes. I’m fascinated by the number of them, in so many trees, all around the park. In these twig cribs, babies are born, grow up and fly away, yet the empty nests remain, sheltered in the branches. Then the leaves fall away, revealing the nests, as dark silhouettes against a grey winter sky.
These are big nests and well made. They’ve stood the test of winds and rain and sleet and snow. The crows that live all around the park, even in winter, visit the trees but leave the nests alone. The nests sit empty.
Empty nests. A cultural cliché, I know. But I don’t see them as empty at all. I see openness, opportunity and potential. Waiting.
And as I walk by, so am I. Waiting.
Although I walk through the park, along the lake and by these trees twice a day almost everyday, I’ve never noticed the nests before. Yet, the nests are always there. Waiting for these bare branches to burst with buds, leaves and flowers, for the busy crows to mate, renovate and fill the nests with new life.
Winter reveals the beauty of the bare branches and empty nests waiting to flourish and be filled. Again.