Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Nest building

It was a giant work of art, a true thing of beauty that was intricately constructed out of natural materials. There were really only two problems with it. First, it was a giant bird’s nest of the likes you’ve only imagined, and second it was built on a neighbor’s patio - a neighbor who had moved out and was trying to sell their house.

I don’t know who first thought of it, but one summer my best friend, Scott, and I decided to build a bird’s nest. It was going to be a giant bird’s nest constructed out of mud, grass, clay, sticks, leaves, and any other natural materials we could find. When trying to find the perfect spot to construct our bird’s nest, we decided the best place, the most private, secluded site would be the patio of the house next door. It had a nice thick hedge all around the back yard for privacy. The house was empty, for sale, and quiet. In short, it was an ideal location.

This was before Sesame Street, so it’s not like we were thinking about Big Bird. If anything we would have been thinking a robin, at first, and then maybe an eagle, just because, or perhaps, eventually some prehistoric bird. I know the size of the nest to begin with was quite modest, the size of a normal bird's nest, only much sturdier and heavier because of all the mud and clay we used. Then Scott and I got busy and that nest building project took on a life of it’s own. It sort of helped us see how other big construction projects may have started with just an idea to build something nice, like a pyramid shaped marker for example, and then suddenly became a huge undertaking that required slave labor.

There were no slaves around, unless we talked younger siblings into helping, and we really only trusted each other with our top-secret bird’s nest project. This meant that we had to rely on each other for the construction. The thing is that we were both hard workers and very diligent and industrious. While we kept tirelessly working on it, that bird’s nest kept growing and growing. Eventually it was large enough that we could sit in it, if we wanted to. It was magnificent. It was a superb feat of construction and imagination. We were very proud of our accomplishment.

Just like many things that are truly so good and great that you can’t keep them a secret, our top-secret bird’s nest project was discovered. I wish I could tell you that it was found by a naturalist, or art gallery owner, or Marlin Perkins and the Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom film crew, but, alas, we had to get discovered by a realtor, a realtor who was not amused or in awe of our great summer art project. No, this was a realtor who wanted the mess cleaned up right away. This was a realtor with a hose and a shovel and an attitude.

Before we could even confess that we had made the huge, gigantic bird’s nest, it was no more. I wish someone had tried to find out whose nest it was and asked if we wanted pictures taken of it before it’s demise, but I don’t think that thought crossed anyone’s mind. Great artists are often misunderstood. The cursed realtor cleaned it up, and at least a month’s worth of work was gone, hauled away in several large garbage cans, I would imagine, depriving the world of something that was truly unique and grand.

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