Last weekend I attended a memorial service for a wonderful 105-year-old gentleman and friend of the family. As one of the oldest Harvard graduates, he’d led a remarkable life as an archaeologist, developing a new boring technique that made him the first to discover the ancient civilization of Sybaris. He was active into his 90s traveling, canoeing, chopping wood, playing the cello, and singing in several choruses and choirs. He was also the warm and caring father of five accomplished children.
One of his daughters had composed a beautiful song “Broken Nest” (reminiscent of George Winston) which was played at the service. Many of us had no idea she was a composer, never mind with such talent. I asked her about it and she shared that it was something she didn’t share for a very long time with friends and family.
When she was younger, she had shared a composition with her father and he had simply said, “You’re no Mozart”. It had caused her to work harder at composing but not to share compositions with family and friends. Much later she did share “Broken Nest” with her father, and he had cried. It was clear at that point he deeply appreciated her talent.
There was no trace of self-pity in his daughter over the early incident.
Ironically, later in the weekend another friend found an abandoned bird nest, made from milkweed fibers.
Like many homes, it was constructed for a family. There was depth to this nest. At the top, fibers nestled and overlapped to keep out the rain. Although now abandoned, presumably during its use it kept the eggs and fledglings safe.
But you couldn’t be completely sure of its history. There were clearly some gaps inside the nest, where something might fall through, or where some materials were less than soft. And if the entire nest had fallen to the ground, it could have been that all inhabitants were lost.
(I prefer to think that the nest did its job until the children left home or were pushed out of the nest. Hopefully they now fly and construct their own nests near and far.)
None of the nests we originate from are perfect. But some of us are lucky enough to have parents who constructed the nests with care, to keep out as many dangers as possible. There are gaps and places where the building materials may have stuck into us. Eventually the nests became too small or we became too big.
And sometimes our early nest experiences are used to construct art. And we soar through our creations, and help others discover their wings.
Thanks, Alexandra, for creating music and sharing your “Broken Nest”.