I’ve got that nesting feeling. That hunker-down, fluff the house, prep-for-the-long-dark-winter feeling. And fortunately for me, I recently picked up a few nesting skills from an expert extraordinaire, and I’m happy to share them with you here.
Photo by Dan Liu

This summer a Robin built her nest on our front porch. She flew by with a twig in her mouth, and I was thrilled to see her craftsmanship right outside my window.  A well-positioned video camera gave us our own little National Geographic show.

Photo by Dan Liu
Robin had two babies. She and her “partner” took turns foraging for worms and watching over the young. She spent what seemed like hours – with nary an iPad to pass the time – sitting on their little bodies.  The babies grew fat and healthy and took flight right before our eyes. The robins left behind a clean and spotless nest. It turns out we can learn a lot about nesting from a Robin.
Nesting, to me, says clean, comfortable, cozy surroundings, devoid of excess and clutter. I think Robin agrees.
Photo by Dan Liu
Lesson 1: McMansions are Overrated
 Does extra space mean extra clutter for you? Robin’s nest was just the right size – a little roomy in the beginning, a little tight near the end – but basically perfect. I wonder sometimes if too much space is too much of a good thing.
Photo by Dan Liu
Lesson 2: Manage the Memorabilia
 Pictures, awards, trophies – they all have meaning; but they can become burdensome, too. When the baby birds hatched, Robin tossed their egg shells to the ground – notwithstanding their gorgeous blue color! Imagine the sentimentality around their first little homes! But Mama Robin knew those shells would do more good to the camellia bush below than cluttering up her nest.
Photo by Dan Liu
Lesson 3: Clean House Daily
 Lots of people “spring clean,” but I do my heaviest cleaning in the fall, preparing my home for the indoor season. Robin kept an immaculate nest. God bless her for – um, consuming – every bird dropping after every meal. Not once did she let up on this necessary chore. Can I hear an “Amen!” that we don’t have to do that?
Photo by Dan Liu
Lesson 4: Forage Mindfully
 Is your freezer or pantry stuffed with unidentifiable or expired foods? The Robin was efficient in her “shopping.” She foraged for only one feeding of worms at a time, though the mouthfuls got bigger and grosser as time went on. Refrigerators saved us from our hunting and gathering days, but there’s still something to be said about limiting supply to only what we use in a given amount of time.
Photo by Dan Liu
Lesson 5: Eliminate Excess
 When I get that “nesting” feeling, I know it’s time to purge. Too much “stuff” is usually weighing me down. Apparently the same is true for the Robin, as she had a regular routine of poking around her nest and discarding little downy feathers no longer needed by her young. What kind of excess is crowding your nest?
Baby birds prepare for their first flight. Photo by Dan Liu

Fifteen days after the twin birds hatched, they took flight and never returned to their tidy little nest. We were fortunate to catch this special moment on film – including nervous mom and dad chirping wildly on the roof next door.

Dad is now an empty nester. Photo by Dan Liu
Our need for order, for cleanliness, for “nesting” is obviously shared by all living creatures. Imagine the comfort and coziness of our homes if we practiced these lessons from Robin.
 
Any of these lessons speak to you?

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