Thinking About Nests, Part 1

I read a call for submissions today. The magazine wants writing on the subject of nests. I did some thinking. Actually, this mini-piece is part of a larger string I’ll be posting. A kind of series as I think on Nests. 

Please add your own thoughts. Let’s pool a big ball of yarn on the subject of Nests. 

Look to the prompts at the end. 


The baby eagle has landed. Us on the rooftop of our birth house in Ogikubo, Tokyo.

I. The Practical, Remembered

The grassy, stringy idea of a nest is haphazard clumps of using what you have–think “junk drawer scavenger hunt meets beach cleanup”. Emptying your pockets to buy that soda. A taking inventory. The real science of storks building their own 2-meter-wide nest in some coastal floodplain. They don’t just happen, right?

Imagine the pressure and scrutiny of that wife. “You brought home that string? Why the hell did you choose raffia and why is it red?”

Sometimes it’s less Dwell magazine and more like Supermarket Sweep! “There’s a string! Freaking get it! I’m thirty-seven weeks!”

And yet…

There is a calm in building. In growing that round orb of a womb and needing to finally clean behind the oven while daytime TV plays in the background–maybe six episodes of Ellen.

There is a sonata, a Charlotte’s Web, a cocoon. A taking part in the communal notion that you are becoming peasant-bloused Earth Mother, cocoa butter slathered on thighs and buttocks, your holistic CD to turn the pain of childbirth into some sweet meditation.

“Just some pressure,” you will chant in singsong later, when the amnesiac hormones have done their job, making you a bit like Jason Bourne. A mere spoonful of sugar, loves…

It was all love and that dang Enya stuck on repeat.

But no matter. You have your girl. You have your boy. The rooms in that one mainframe of a nest lived in, made holy with each breath. Stories read, accents discovered, silly voices realised. It’s every piece of string coming together. Pinocchio becomes a boy, Ponyo gets her own belly button. There is Joy.


Even the still-mismatching pillowcases, the make-due duvets. Hearts are warm. Feet are socked. Bread becomes buttery toast. The life of birds and their song: at some point, the little ones whistle, too. They pick up their most-wanted toys and it’s all a soaring. A lifting off of yesterday, preparing. Wiping off peeling pink toe polish, releasing the sticky Band-aides. A lifting off of feet. And from here, from this lookout on the second floor, I can see the leaves turning. Ginkos readying to yellow, maples crinkling. Shifts in the air, landmarks, some more of those strings that got us here, tie us here. A cozying, batting down.

What were the challenges, the moments of calm, the funny bits in your nesting? What did you think you needed, but in the end, learned it was okay to let go of? What is surprising, still, in your quest to create an organised home filled with harmony?


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