The Nuthatch

By Heidi Campbell

It took her ages of songs

to weave together her collection of twigs and sticks

To form the vital foundation she so needed.

She tested the strength a little each day,

Careful not to put too much weight-

fearing she might break what seemed so stable.

Finally, she felt so at ease that she bravely

Put her entire self in the nest; she trusted wholly. 

The nest held. 

It weathered storms that shook leaves from branches,

uprooted history, and overturned man’s hard work.

She was safe here. She smiled, worry faded.

The arms of the nest folded around her,

Allowing a rare leisure, even pleasure,

In her predatory world.

Years passed.

Her love for the nest never waned, 

Yet something shifted.

Perhaps the nest grew weary of perching in the same tree-

The routine too mundane,

The responsibility too great.

The branches became brittle.

Some broke with a snap,

Others only splintered, 

Yet she could not fortify or rebuild.

She did not want anything to change.

Her nest was her happiness.

She dreaded the end of her safety, her comfort.

She could not accept that the protective arms would not hold, 

That the branches were too tired.

Crack!

Half of the nest fell away. 

She couldn’t even see where it landed-

Bits scattered.

“Why have you abandoned me?” she wailed.

“What have I done? Where will I go? What will I do?”

She perched on the edge of the fragmented home,

Her head drooped.

She tried to shuffle the remaining twigs,

Pull from one side to rebuild what was lost, 

But the twigs were brittle,

They refused to bend. 

She clung to the fragmented fortress,

Fear stopped rash moves.

Sometimes she didn’t even want to breath-

Trepidation’s grip nearly strangled her.

Some days she didn’t leave her perch,

Fearing it would be gone when she returned.

She tried to leave but failed time and again,

Returned to the tenuous branches,

Where she no longer felt secure. 

She left, knowing

she should never return.

Never wonder.

Never ask.

She spent days gathering,

carrying, 

Collecting,

Forgetting. 

Some days she swooped close to the tree,

But never too close.

The new home was complete.

It was secure,

It was, in fact, a most acceptable place.

She wondered if happiness, security, and comfort 

Would follow her here.

Only she could hear the doubt in her song.

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