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It seemed to him that the nest had always been there. Even in his childhood he would look out his bedroom window and watch the birds in the nest. It always gave him a feeling of warmth; of being nurtured. He even imagined the mother bird looked at him from time to time; as if to tell him that things would be ok.
He needed this kind of support. He definitely did not get it inside his own house. It felt to him that he was always in the way around his parents and sibs. They were all so adventurous and outgoing, he shy and reclusive. Seemed like the party always died the minute he entered the room. In the end he always ended up back in his room listening to music and staring at that nest out the window.
He did have one talent he supposed. That was school. He loved to learn. It seemed that in these books he could get away for a while and be someone else, somewhere else. Although in retrospect it seems strange, he was deathly afraid to leave his house way back when on that first day of school. The birds were what finally convinced him to go. He had look out the window and said aloud, "Is this school place gonna be ok?" Suddenly the bird looked straight at him and he knew that it was ok. He knew somehow that he would be safe.
People might think he was crazy if they found this out; but he made all his decisions that way now. Somehow if he asked the nest at moments of indecision an answer would come to him. Most recently he had asked the birds if he should go away to college. The answer was yes but for the first time it seemed the birds had failed him.
College had been a disaster from day one. He felt even more lonely then ever without the comfort of his old room. In a weird way he even missed his family. He was having trouble in classes for the first time in his life and had no idea why. Worst of all it was December and he had made not even a single acquaintance. His was miserable beyond belief. Until yesterday that is.
He had been eating lunch outside in the cold. Somehow it helped him think. What he wanted was a sign from somewhere like he used to get from the nest. As if by magic, a bird flew by him overhead. Looking at it, he thought that it was the mother bird from back home. He knew intellectually that this was ridiculous but he could not help but feel it was his sign. The bird flew off to the south and he had the feeling that he should go home. His answers would be there.
An urgency gripped him and he took the first bus home in the morning. His parents were very surprised to see him but did not press him for details. Somehow the anxiety he had accumulated washed away at being in his old room. He felt he knew what the bird had meant. Home. This is where he belonged. He need not go out into that dangerous world as his safety was here. The nest was here.
He looked out his window to see the mother bird looking back at him. Then everything went black.
When he awoke later everything felt strange and he was still in the blackness. However this blackness had a different quality than the last. He felt warmth and comfort. A warmth and comfort that he had not felt in years. His whole body felt like it was floating but somehow he was not afraid.
He wanted to stay this way forever, feeling so protected but something swept over him and he knew he had to break from the darkness. Upward and upward he pushed but it was hard going. The barrier in his path was strong. Just as he was about to give up the thought of the mother bird came to his mind and he pushed one more time and was free.
Darkness of a sort still prevailed through the barrier but it was not the same. Although his mind was sluggish and all the sounds around him were muffled he could feel the warmth of sunlight on his face. He could also feel the presence of others around him yet he was not frightened. One presence shone through and the presence gave him comfort.
How long he was in this state he could not be sure but eventually vision started to come back to him. It was not the vision he was used to. All the peripherals seemed much wider and everything was sharp. Suddenly he understood what had happened. He was in the nest. Around him were his new sibs and his mother and the shattered remains of an egg. His egg as he was now a bird.
This thought did not upset him. He felt the joy of being nurtured and loved by this strong presence in the nest. He had wondered what it would be like to be a bird and be able to soar free in the sky. Now he would know.
The time passed away and he felt special and cared for. His mother would bring him worms and other food and carefully see that he was fed. His new sibs preened and cared for each other and the mother cared for and oversaw all. It was special. He felt love and strength in a way his soul had been lacking.
It almost seemed that the mother paid special attention to him and over time he felt that he would never want to leave. That was when his world was shattered again. One morning after feeding her young the mother began to push the youngsters from the nest. One by one she nudged them and they flew. Finally it was his turn but he would not go. He wanted to stay with her.
The bird did not force him at first but over time he could tell that she was getting more impatient. It was also painfully obvious that none of the others were coming back. He could feel both his new mother's encouragement of his ability and disapproval of his fear. Finally she looked down at him and he could almost here her say.
"You have learned to be strong but new challenges await. It is time to take wing."
Although fear almost overpowered him he jumped out of the nest and took flight!
The sky was exhilarating. There was no feeling to describe the joy of flight. And, although he was alone, he could feel a loving, nurturing presence in the background.
Finally he came back to earth at his bedroom window and found himself back in his human shape. He picked up his backpack and went downstairs to his parents and told them he was heading back to college.
The birds lesson to him had been learned. It was time for him to fly the skies of life on his own. With the love he had learned and felt he knew he could make it.
The Nest copyright 1997 by Bruce Leach.
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