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Spread Your Feathers

As Gabi Mann knows from watching the crows she feeds at her home in Seattle, birds can travel great distances to acquire items for their nests, or even gifts for friends. Like birds, our nests are often decorated with tokens of places we have been. Some are carefully chosen mementos and others just sentimental keepsakes of travels past. How often have you smiled to find a forgotten ticket stub, boarding pass, and receipt floating around in a coat pocket or purse? Some of these paper remnants get promptly tossed upon discovery, and some we can’t quite part with yet, or ever, and they even get passed down the generations. Case and point, I still have my grandmother’s Indy 500 tickets from the 1920s.

Sometimes we know in advance a torn ticket stub will be a special keepsake, while others, like a first date movie ticket, take on an unexpected significance after the fact. If your nest is like mine, it also has plenty of relics from places that people you love have traveled to as well as reminders of the places you long to visit. For me, at the top of the list is “ah Paree, oui oui!”
spread-your-feathers2In my jewelry box, I keep a small silver thimble of the Eiffel Tower – a gift from my much cooler, much older sister, when I was 14 years young and “much older” was a desirable characteristic. And while my cynical side is deeply suspicious that this gift cost much less than the allotted parental budget line for “souvenirs for sister,” just holding that twenty–year-old tarnished thimble can transport me clear across the Atlantic. My imagination takes flight and there I am in the City of Light, sitting at a small nondescript café, watching through the steam rising off my coffee as people and bicycles splash through Parisian
spread-your-feathers3puddles.

When I’m feeling especially imaginative, my mind’s eye puts me on the wing of Victor the Eagle as we enjoy a birds eye view of the streets of Paris. Watching even virtually as Victor spreads his feathers and flies off the Eiffel Tower is awe-inspiring. Perhaps that’s why Emily Dickinson described hope as a “thing with feathers?”

Our nests need these fun and fanciful reminders of things to come… things to hope for… things to dream about… evidence of places we have or will spread our wings, and our feathers.

What relics do you keep around your nest and to what far-off -or nearby- places do they transport you? When you get out last winter’s coat, what will you find in the pocket? And what do you hope to leave behind in those pockets when the warmth of spring arrives once again?

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