A few weekends ago we gathered as a community to cut back the brush that through the winter grows and through the summer dries and makes fodder for wildfires. After the last one in Nov 2008 that burned down 14 of our community’s homes, no one is about to skip out on this important job.
So we split in two teams and attacked the brush in the back of houses down to the canyons. It was thick! Some of it was beautiful wildflowers that my neighbor Vicki named and about which I apologized after cutting. It had to be done. We cleared out burnt stumps also. Left some camouflage for the boys’ hideout…
And in the brush, as we were chopping at the roots and pulling out the long stems, we found nests. Thankfully, abandoned ones. Beautiful, the first one, that I found, had flowers woven into it. Twigs, flowers, and in the inside, smaller twigs, perfectly woven, yet looking so fragile. How do they do it? How do they know? Miracle.
I walked home with it, thinking of Bird’s Nest Soup I’ve had in Chinese restaurants, how it’s supposed to have the spit soaked off from nests in the soup, how we drink that, thinking it’s beneficial.
I placed it in the main bathroom, on the sink, for art (and to keep it safe from the cat who would surely pull it apart, want to eat it!). And I thought of One Thousand Gifts.
Here’s Ravinia holding the nest, sitting on the new couch, the feathering of our nest we’ve been working on this summer. Transforming our space, really. Cleaner for calming the anxiety of work, seating for our large dinners once a week where college students and some faculty gather. Found, the nest is a sign of grace. It links me to the birds who used what was at hand but used it well, used the flowers even, and the beauty is part of the strength of the structure.
In One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp simplifies original sin to ingratitude. I stopped reading to check with Theologian Husband, who had no problem agreeing. The cure, listing thanks, finally gives me a clear picture of how “humble yourself” works. I had somehow glimpsed, while reading Purpose Driven Life, that to humble yourself meant “in all your ways acknowledge God” but Ann’s insight encourages not just acknowledging him before men but first relating to him in thanks (and praise).
In cleaning up the bathroom for last night”s Sunday dinner we decided to remove the nest. But first I took pictures. I wanted a reminder, a memorial of God, who provides flowers for the nests of birds and rest for those he loves (which is indeed all the world) if we but come to him!
759 hymn tunes I know so I can concentrate on meaning while singing out his praise
760 Pastor David, retired but reappearing
761 Highway 1 beauty as we ventured north
762 hotel room with kitchenette
763 hot pot dinner for six in that small hotel room, make-do seating for 4!
764 the people and creatures at Monterrey Bay Aquarium
765 having a camera to record beautiful sights even if not all came out
766 good weather there, clear and foggy by turns
767 hand dipped and carved candles
768 Melinda driving out with her 2 kids to see us the last few hours we were there
769 surprising Ravinia with a kiiller whale, “Whatsisname Soccer Shamu”
770 reading together while driving