“Ho, winds of March, speed over sea, From mountains where the snows lie deep The cruel glaciers threatening creep, And witness this, my jubilee!” ~ Elizabeth Drew Stoddard
March has blown in with blustery winds and brought with it skies filled with the drama of cumulus clouds. Despite the chill in the air, my morning walks have been colored by gardens putting on their spring sheen. And William Wordsworth has taken up residence in my head – thanks to the brilliant daffodils nodding their bright cheery heads. Their presence is like a headline proclaiming the onset of spring.
I made a wonderful discovery on my front porch that heralded the coming of spring in the midst of a humdrum Monday morning routine. A little hummingbird’s nest! About an inch across, and maybe the same in height, it was carefully tucked into the foliage of a potted curry leaf plant and was easy to miss at first glance. I marveled at the artistry with which it was constructed. It had all the finesse of a museum piece! Pine needles, bits of cloth, moss and other materials woven together tightly, and lined with soft feathers. Even my father-in-law, a civil engineer would have approved of the manner of building. What was amazing was that the bird took a chance with choosing this particular spot for its nest. It seemed to me like there were other places in the garden that were better suited, offering more camouflage, and higher off the ground. Obviously she had better instincts than I did! Sheltered from wind and rain, the nest sat securely balanced on a branch, warm in the mid-morning sun. And there was the best surprise of all sitting pretty inside its cozy confines – a tiny little egg. Perfection! – that was the word that came to mind immediately. It felt like the most amazing gift! Yes, indeed. Spring was definitely here with a sight to behold on my front perch.
I can’t wait to share this discovery with my child when she comes home from school. I’m sure that her first question will be “How did the bird know to make its home? Who taught her to do it?”. As always, I will find books and videos so we can learn together. We will spend the next few days learning about our resident hummingbird hard at work, searching for materials well suited for her task, painstakingly weaving together her cozy home – doing what comes naturally to her. We will take pictures to observe how the egg hatches and catalog it all, so she can remember it.
And in this process, the Mommy in me will try to impart some lofty lesson camouflaged in the guise of a story, along the lines of “You must be persistent like the hummingbird,” or, “You have all the imagination you need inside you waiting to be found’,” in the hope that my child’s sponge-like brain will soak it all up. Examples of courage, trust, perseverance – nature is full of such lessons. While I try to teach, I am aware that I am learning as well.
We live in a DIY (do-it-yourself) world – Pinterest, YouTube video tutorials, you name it. It is almost as if we have lost the intuitive ability to figure out how things are put together, without the aid of a set of instructions. Even then, it can be a daunting task to manage and follow the steps correctly. This little bird’s nest seemed like a reminder of an elemental ability for creative exploration hardwired within us. A reminder that the effort is central to the end goal. A perfect, enduring example of the “Spirit of Renewal.”
All it takes is for us to be aware of the possibilities.
And trust our instincts.