one of the gifts of this time of year is that in the disrobing of the trees comes the unveiling of the bird nests.
I've tried counting them as I ride up the canyon, but I always lose track, get distracted by something, and end up having no idea which ones I've counted and how many I haven't even seen, all of this working together to render any count I've ever made woefully suspect. therefore I will just say that with each ride I catch glimpses of nests that had before been hidden from me, hidden by the plentiful leaves of summer or by my own haste or narrow focus.
these nests fascinate me, these collections of twigs and sticks and whatever else the birds have been able to scavenge from the environs. some look as though they might fit into my cupped hands, while others would need both my arms to embrace their circumference. what kind of birds were hatched and raised in these structures? what scraps of our human lives are woven into the walls of their briefly used homes? are there strings or threads or lengths of twine? snippets of torn plastic, fragments of newspaper?
by the time these nests are visible to me, the leaves having turned color and fallen, the birds are likely to have abandoned them. so what I am looking at are the once safely hidden nurseries of the newest generation of feather-winged creatures. which brings me great delight, as if a secret has just been revealed: ah-ha, this is where the birds have been hiding all those months as they grew from being enveloped in the egg to birth to fledgling to adult.
the trees, stripped bare of all their leaves, still stand so proudly, holding onto these nests. it's as if they know they are the chosen ones, those who have been asked to hold safely and firmly in the crooks of their boughs these fragile homes of newborn birds.
the landscape is bare, the trees barren save for these collections of twigs that please and thrill me with their confidence, their continuity, their belief that given a safe place to grow, the baby birds within will develop strength and faith in an ability to lift open their wings and soar, far and away.