There’s a cactus outside my office window that’s between three and four feet tall. We planted it two or three years ago and it’s really taken hold (no blossoms yet, but I remain hopeful that one year it will be mature enough to bloom!). A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a small bird beginning to build a nest toward the top of the cactus. I was pretty pleased to see it, because I figured that nesting would lead to some interesting birdwatching over the coming months. (I later shared a photo with a friend and she told me that the bird is a male verdin.)
The next day, I was at my desk and looked up to see a dove picking apart the nest! Perhaps those gathered sticks were too tempting for the dove, who could gather many sticks in the same place for use in its own nest. By the end of the afternoon, the nest was mostly disassembled and an entire section of it was on the ground. I figured that was the end of the nest, that the verdin would seek a safer place to rebuild.
The little verdin, however, persevered. He returned the next day and immediately began reconstructing the nest. Over the next week, I saw both a male and a female verdin, diligently nesting. I look out my window now and the nest seems complete, though my reading tells me that it’s now the female’s turn to line the inside of the nest to her satisfaction. I’ve also learned that verdins build multiple nests and inhabit them year-round. I will be curious to see what unfolds in the months ahead, and whether this nest is used just for shelter, or also for raising chicks.
Nature rewards perseverance. The genetic imperative to persist, thrive, and regenerate is strong in every species on the planet. Nature recovers from everything—although it also adapts, so the new might not always look like the old. (Which is why global warming is likely to create significantly different ecosystems to which we as a species will need to adapt!)
As we continue to live into various types of “new normal” with COVID-19, it’s important that we persevere. If our nest is torn apart, we begin again. If our business fails, we begin again. If someone we love gets sick, we pray for them and do our best to keep healthy ourselves. If they die, we grieve, and we also give thanks to God for the gift they have been in our lives. It’s not easy, but perseverance is built into our very nature. We are called, in every season, to keep nesting. We are called to live with faith, hope, and love.
How are you called to rebuild what’s been torn apart at this time in your life? In what ways are you learning to change and adapt?
To Shirin—What a powerful metaphor! Having a comfortable nest destroyed and needing to be rebuilt really touches me. We moved to Tucson a year ago into a House we rented from a cousin. We decorated it so that it is beautiful and safe. Now due to changing circumstances we are having to move into a new nest! We will persevere until we find the Next spot to make into a home. We love the cactus and the birds drinking from the blossoms!
Ah, Lorel, I’m so glad you found this metaphor meaningful for you. Yes, it’s challenging to have to pick up and move when we’ve nested and believe we’re settled and secure. We had to do that four years ago, which was hard, but as a result we’re here with the lovely cacti and birds! I pray that you will find blessings even in the re-nesting process.
Lovely essay and very appropriate for addressing the unknown that we are living through at this time. I do hope, however, that we do not rebuild the same structure but one that is more equitable for all.
Thank you, Connie. I agree; we definitely need to rethink much of our social structure! Thanks for doing your part!
This reminds me so much of what the Benedictines say: ‘Always we begin again”…. and like one other person wrote, lets pray that what and how we begin to rebuild is more equitable and just. Your photos continue to inspire!
Thank you, Joyce, for that reminder. Every day is a new opportunity. Amen to the prayer that we will build a more just and equitable future together out of all this!