Sunday, January 27, 2008


Like many women, I first came across the notion of nesting when talking pregnancy. I found out that, when approaching the giving birth stage, many women feel the urge to clean, tidy up, even completely re-organise their living spaces. I heard of women who conveinced themselves that their unborn baby would need a toaster or a new hairdrier, while another friend of mine was not satisfied with her pad in central London and embarked on a traumatic house-buying mission only three months before she was due. She spent her last week before heading for the delivery room giving directions to slacking builders and decorators who had camped up in the new townhouse she remarkly managed to buy at such short notice. The other night as I finally curled up in my extra comfy bed upon return from Chicago, I was leafing through the beautiful Birds and Nests stickers from Cavallini & Co. and was particularly taken by this one:

It occurred to me that avid birdwatches can tell what type of bird inhabits any given nest by looking at its own abandoned shell. I, on the other hand, currently pass the naked bushes while on horseback and notice these knots of minute branches, dead leaves, cotton and string, as if they have been placed by humans prior to a nature photo-shoot. In reality,they have been constructed by birds some of which are smaller than my own thumb. I started looking around my house and realised that I lack both the patience and the inclination to nest properly. As I live in a perpetual state of controlled chaos, with books and papers usually causing the greatest, and equal, amounts of grief and pleasure, my nest is no way near the solid and reassuring hub of the chaffinch, nor is it the New Age basket that houses the Savi’s Warbler and its little ones. When high winds afflcited the area in January last year, a piece of roofing fell out and needed to be re-cemented in. Yesterday, I was observing the small cracks on the outside walls, a sure indication that almost six years after moving in, this summer may be the Summer Of Rendering after all. With all its faults, I have missed my nest. I have missed the familiar smells and the familiar sounds, I have missed the familiar chaos and the familiar views, even if I am not 120 floors above the ground. But still, when my bedroom opens onto a green oasis, why would I need the Sears Tower in the middle of it?

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