Writing as compared to nest-building

It occurred to me today during meditation that writing a blog (for me at least) is something like building a nest; a process I’ve had a bird’s eye view of from my window this week as the goldfinches continue their construction right outside my window.

In busy bursts, usually in the mornings (just like those birds), I also set to work placing, let’s call them, carefully selected materials into the outline structure of some idea I have had; rearranging them, weaving them into the fabric, combing and teasing some of them out to make them more expansive. It may look a little rustic by the time I’ve “finished” (that point which, much like these birds I’m watching, I struggle to decide I have reached, such that what started as a modest idea grows and grows…often added to some more, even after publishing, never quite satisfied). Yet, however it looks, to the one working on the construct, there is always an underlying design, a coherence or an intention to it.

And of course its raison d’être is to “give birth to” something, to hatch out a new idea or two, or (perhaps) not such a new idea since, like baby birds, they come and they go year on year…flying away, only for more to arrive that seem, to the naked eye, identical to the previous year’s crop (as the saying goes, there is nothing new in creation). Yet, to me, it is always driven by the the urgency of newness coming forth…must get the nest finished in time… and so this birthing process feels like the be-all-and-end-all of my mornings. It is literally everything while I give my all to it…and then its done, or paused, and I spend my afternoons “singing in the sun”, or whatever my equivalent of that happens to be that day (in the sunshine, if there happens to be any). Yet in its morning urgency, writing is compelling, pressing, absorbing and I am completely driven in this act of carefully placing and weaving materials which, to me at least, are the carefully selected outcome of some deep plunge into what, to others, might just seem like a useless pile of old rotting leaves, the spewing innard of some worn-out matter, dried twigs from another year’s old growth lying around on the floor…old stuff…repurposed into meaning and future significance in my head.

What difference that writing makes, in the end, is no more than the ripple made by a pebble thrown into a vast ocean; an infinitesimal blip in the consciousness of humanity and yet, just as each newly fledged bird taking to the sky is important in a world of increasing scarcity, it plays its part…in something bigger than itself…as do all thoughts and words. Perhaps this one lands with someone, one day, and being there at just that very moment, makes that all-important difference, if only to brighten the view or uplift the mood with a different melody, interrupting the pattern of normality.

Just as I seldom return to my own writing, how many birds return to their old nests? Some do, or use other’s, of course, but mostly there is this ceaseless drive to repeat the process, year after year, with never one iota less consideration taken as to what materials to use, the way they are woven together, the amount of liner used to soften the impact, or not. In fact seldom a misplaced detail of any kind, really, since (as in life) there are no mistakes in writing, its desire to be there being its very reason for existing, however it is constructed. You could call it the enactment of a universal urge; an out breath to balance an in breath.

Like birds building nests, we don’t need to question it; only to decide whether to engage with it or not and, just as some people never seem to notice all the beautiful birds around them, many don’t read very much either…but, for those of us who do, the delight of discovering other people’s nests is a deep and impactful one; we seldom forget a good one and, some, we return to many times for comfort, like the pair of collared doves who have now spent months in the same dishelvelled nest under my eaves as last year and the year before (built against a disused satelite dish!) because they know what they like!

Like a scattered community of different birds across a landscape of dense trees and hedgerows, just as my garden and surroundings seems to be at the moment, you can feel the shared-energy of optimism and passion, of creativity and hope tucked inside nearly every discrete and dark-seeming corner of life when you seek out its writers and that’s enough to give hope and uplift in abundance to fellow writers like me.

About Helen White

Helen White is a professional artist and published writer with two primary blogs to her name. Her themes pivot around health and wellbeing, expanded consciousness and ways of noticing how life is a constant dance between the deeply subjective and the collective-universal, all of which she explores with a daily hunger to get to know herself better. Her blog Living Whole shines a light on living with high sensitivity, dealing with trauma and healing from chronic health issues. Spinning the Light is an extremely broad-based platform where she elucidates the everyday alchemy of relentless self-exploration. A lifetime of "feeling like an outsider" slowly emerged as neurodivergence (being a Highly Sensitive Person with ADHD, synaesthesia, sensory processing challenges and other defecits overlapping with giftedness). All of these topics are covered in her blogs, written from two distinct vantage points so, if you have enjoyed one of them, you may wish to explore the other for a different, yet entirely complimentary, perspective.
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4 Responses to Writing as compared to nest-building

  1. cathytea says:

    Birds seem to get such joy from building nests!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the idea of the blog as a nest Helen – a safe space for us to birth things, lovely idea.

    Liked by 1 person

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