Nest

All week I have been thinking about this nest.  It’s in the Korean Lilac bush planted next to the walkway into the house.  The top branches are sticking up through the deep snow packed on either side of the narrow path we’ve kept shoveled through this snowy winter, and there among the jumble of bush is this tiny nest.  My guess is sparrows built it, based on their fluttering in and out of the bush last summer.  The memory of last summer’s birds and this nest now make me think of the summer after Eric died, when there was a nest in the yews that border the driveway.  I spent many hours that summer sitting on the porch, watching the adult sparrows and listening to the chirping of the chicks and the frenetic squabble when one of the parents would fly into the yew branches and disappear.  A few times I pulled back the branches to see the scraggly feathered heads stretching up towards whatever was coming.  Then the sparrow traffic stopped and the nest was empty.

I’ve been meaning to take a photograph of this nest every day this week, and then write a haiku.  But it’s been a week when taking a moment to stop and snap a picture has felt impossible, one of those weeks when breathing feels like it takes too much time.  I’ve had early morning meetings and evening meetings, meetings after meetings after meetings, which means I can’t get any work done, much less pay attention to the creative channel in my brain.  The whole idea of a haiku a day was to have at least a few syllables of space and time in my brain for creativity.

Well this week the creativity channel has been blocked.  I didn’t get to my poetry group, I only wrote a haiku on Tuesday, and that only happened because the snow sticking to every surface in the outside world was so stunningly gorgeous it stopped me long enough to take a photo and start the haiku machine whirring.

Now it’s Saturday, I’ve stopped long enough to breathe, get some wood into the house so we can have a fire, and think about something other than some work deadline that has to be met in the next minute.  On today’s list is loading wood into the barn, digging it out of the drifts and plowed bank of snow from the last few weeks.  As I carry the wood up onto the porch, through the kitchen, and into the barn I’ll be walking on the shoveled path, right past the nest, hatching its image and metaphor and memories into my brain.  Voila!

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About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
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