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Fall 2000 Edition

An Acquisition of Sadness

"She couldn't be making a nest there!" I cried with dismay, when I noticed a cardinal busily fussing in the top of a maple sapling, hardly six feet tall, including the clump of honeysuckle that crowned it. It grew against a ledge covered with a jungle of vines - my cat's favorite lookout.

wpe2E.jpg (25853 bytes)She was, though. I didn't know when she had begun -- the cat would be the one who knew about that - but it seemed nearly finished, as she settled herself into it, shaping its form with tier breast. My cat was, 'in fact, watching her that very moment. Only his eyes moved,.

I rushed to discourage her from continuing, and remaining in danger, but the cat, who could stand it no longer, leaped into the treetop, barely missing her, as she flew to one side and escaped. He hung from the little tree that swung back and forth from the shock of his attack. Then he let go, dropped to the ground, and slunk back to the ledge. She returned to her place on the nest!

I felt compelled to interfere. The granite ledge, steep ind thick with poison ivy, was inaccessible to me. My cat wouldn't be abandoning his beloved vantage point, and even if he - or another cat, for that matter - didn't get her, it was likely a raccoon or snake would devour the eggs, if she laid any. Reluctantly, I removed the nest.

Then I discovered what she had made - what she had accomplished with the means she had. The nest, whose inner portion was no larger din a cup, was nearly weightless. The outer layer was composed of tiny, bare hemlock twiglets and paper-thin pieces of bark. A dried leaf formed part of a wall. It was loosely assembled, although the grasses of the lining were neatly turned into a smooth hollow.

But she had added finishing touches, for beauty's sake. Around the outside, she had tucked in fragments of last summer's dry, white hydrangea blossoms giving the nest the appearance of being trimmed with an ecru lace. I understood her dream. She would raise her young above mosses, under a canopy of honeysuckle, in a bed of honeysuckle, in a bed of flowers.

I only hope she chose her next site wisely, and that other attempts at construction were less ethereal and more suited to the realities of life. Her winsome creation, so frail that it's kept in a small, wooden bowl to prevent its failing apart gives me much to reflect upon. As I look at it, I think:

Her soul speaks in her empty home,

Less like a dwelling, than a poem.

-Sally Belenardo
Photo of nest by Lou Belenardo

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Getting a taste of God's creation as it should be!

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