A robin built a beautiful nest on the right side of my patio about two months ago. I was so excited! I was going to watch the nest fill with eggs, baby birds hatch and learn to fly from my patio. I could see it rain or shine from inside or out.
But it didn't work out that way: empty nest.
Mom robin flew in and out of the nest for a day or two, but never seemed to settle. Finally after a few days, momma quit showing up at all. I waited and waited. I watched everyday. But she never came back. I worried my dog scared her away or a predator killed her. I gave up waiting for her to come back to the now, empty nest.
Surprise: Another nest!
One morning, my granddaughter looked up to the patio cover and giggled. I looked amazed, too. Because there under the opposite corner of my patio cover was a new robin's nest! And inside sat a happy mama robin. When the eggs hatched, she and dad began feeding two little chicks until they disappeared one morning from the nest.
Empty nest, again.
I googled 'robins' and asked on Facebook. Here's what I found out: Robins build nests and leave them until they're ready to lay eggs. But if something disturbs the robins before the eggs are laid, they will build another nest. Then mama comes back, lays the eggs and sits on the nest only leaving to eat for 14 days. When the eggs hatch, mama and daddy robin take turns feeding the chicks again for about two weeks. Then the baby birds 'fledge' and leave the nest. Mom and Dad still keep feeding and protecting the chicks until they can fly, again about 2 weeks.
What's that outside my utility window? Another nest.
My son-in-law discovered it this week while helping to mow the lawn. I thought the robins were gone for the season, but again, I was wrong. Robins have 2-3 broods in each breeding season from April to July. Once one brood has learned to fly, they start a new nest.
Nesting isn't just for robins. I can see my life in their cycle too.
There's the obvious cycle in parenting. I had a full nest with two children. I fed, nurtured and watched them grow up from babies to fly off into lives of their own. And, then, my nest was empty. Or so I thought. Then my daughter and son moved home filling the nest and moving out again, emptying it. My granddaughter spends days with me and my daughter and her husband came to stay for a month, filling and emptying the nest once again.
Creating follows the same empty nest cycle too.
We all nest and sit and create and our creations move out into the world and we begin again.
I have an idea that incubates. It hatches into a painting, mask, cup, vase or bowl. I feed it with the energy and spirit that comes from my hands and brush and heart. Then, it makes its way out into the world through a show or studio sale and the cycle begins again. So, even as I sit in the quiet of my empty nest that was filled just yesterday with my children, cats, dogs and babies, I know a new brood of ideas will be hatching soon.
Who knew Mama Robin and I had so much in common? Curious, isn't it?