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Preen Where You Perch

You have probably heard the expression “bloom where you are planted.” I think the quote begs an interesting question… if our nests are where we are planted, are we creating nests that help us bloom and thrive? Or are we waiting- for the spare time, for the next house or promotion, or divine intervention to invest in the aesthetics of our nests in a way that preens us from the inside out?

As my previous post reflected, I believe we can learn quite a bit from our feathered friends. Whether a bird’s an ostrich, a hummingbird, a penguin, or one of the other 9,862 species of birds, all birds have four things in common: feathers, wings, egg-laying, and warm bloodedness. Along the same lines, all humans share certain traits and needs. Abraham Maslow outlined the latter in his hierarchy of needs. One of the most basic needs that you find at the bottom of that pyramid is shelter, another word for our nest. The décor and furnishings of our homes are expressions of a fundamental human need for our home to reflect who we are and to shelter us on a deeper level than simple survival demands.

(Click images to see detail)

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All spring and summer I have enjoyed the delightful distraction of cardinals, robins, and their feathered friends hanging out at the bird feeder outside my office window. It is like I am viewing my own private nature channel as I watch winged patrons peruse the menu and in between bites they pause their dining to stretch, sunbathe, and preen on my porch rail. Preening might seem like pure vanity, but it is not just a way for a bird to pass the time. Preening is essential to the bird’s health, success, and happiness. Doing so aligns feathers for optimum waterproofing, insulation, and flight. It also removes parasites and helps attract a mate. And, once a mate is found, a courtship ritual of mutual preening increases the bonds between the lovebirds (pun unabashingly intended).

When examining this bird behavior in light of the hierarchy of needs, obviously the feeding comes first. However, the preening is also very important. Just like with nesting humans, preening birds are not simply “cleaning up for company.” Just like birdkind, we also need to be aerodynamic on our flights to and from home, enjoy rituals with family and friends (which for us often involve food more than feathers), and shake off the dirt from our travels. I know I often procrastinate on home projects for a multitude of reasons, but when I do follow through, walking into the rearranged or improved space fills me with long-lasting comfort and joy. While we can’t always afford the time or money to make every single improvement that we may want, we shouldn’t let what we can’t do keep us from doing what we can to make our nest the best possible. Or, to take a page from our feathered friends, preen where you are perched! And we hope to give you the tools to do just that here on our site. Peruse away, Nesting Chicks!

Contributed by Shaw Hipsher. The Nesting Chick welcomes your comments!

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Birds of a Feather

 

Dorothy told us, “There’s no place like home.”

 

Maya Angelou wrote, “The ache for home lives in all of us.”

Sir Edward Coke declared, “A Man’s home is his Castle.”

Home has been referred to as many things by many different people from before biblical times, even amongst nomadic peoples. While some folks like to think of their homes as castles, or even sanctuaries, I see my home as my nest. I carry some items of luxury into it to build it up and, when I leave, I often carry small comforts of home out into the world with me. It is the place I go to take care of myself- to shake off the day or the week, to kick off my shoes, and exhale in the coziness of the familiar and predictable.

While, like many people, I love to travel, I equally love returning home. Home is a safe landing spot. Like a bird returning to its nest, I seek it out as a refuge for mind, body, and soul. Woven into the walls is a special blend of privacy, luxury, and comfort that is uniquely mine- be it in the form of pillow from my travels to Africa, a beautiful, soft blanket draped just so across the couch, or the smell of a scented candle- for while all of our senses play a role in recollecting, it is our sense of smell that is the strongest link to memory.

When I say nest as a reference to home, I’m sure a few people may think of “expectant mother parking signs” near the door of their local Target store. However, I would argue that every woman in every stage of life is entitled to a nest… a space of her own… a place to roost… a place that is sheltered from the chaos of the daily grind. From first-time mothers to retired business executives, all professional “chicks” are entitled to their nests, and our attachment to them is strong. While outwardly these nests can differ greatly from one another, the connection between chick and nest is the same- be it a mansion or a one room walk-up. I have nested in six different states outside of my home state and also roosted for nearly two years at the bottom of Africa. While each nest was different from the next, it was what they had in common that made each one home: a red tea kettle, the towels rolled just so in the basket, and the smell of lavender.

On the other side of the nesting coin, my sister is one of the 37% of Americans who still live in their hometowns. However vastly different we may sometimes seem on paper, my sister and I both luxuriate in adding to our nests. In fact, we often buy items in twos so the other sister can also enjoy and connect with that “nest enhancer”- be it a piece of cookware, a convenient tool, artwork, or a frame for special photo. I have close friends with whom I have the same generous “retail relationship” through which we share items we love with people we love. These circes (Southern-speak for small gifts) that help feather my nest are visual reminders of the support and solidarity that are the true presents of the giver.

Our hope is that you will find solidarity in this site and feel the support of the other professional chicks out there who have turned to this shop to find missing materials for their nest. In a world where the average American spends 101 minutes of their day driving, and the typical U.S. business traveler takes about four daytrips and two overnight trips per month, there is a need to create home not just where we receive our mail, but where we find ourselves most often. Or to frame it another way, where we receive our email. In a modern world of movement and media and mobile phones, we seek to feather our nest at home and on the go. Our hope is that this site will serve as a feeder for your creativity and comfort. We wish for you to find items that make a difference in your daily life and we hope you will be inspired to share them with those you love because, after all, we nesting chicks must flock together.

Contributed by Shaw Hipsher. The Nesting Chick welcomes your comments!

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