Last summer, a pair of finches made a nest on the wreath on my front door. I watched their family develop, day by day: Four eggs, four baby birds, four fledglings taught how to fly by their parents, and then they were gone.
I suffered empty nest syndrome. Literally.
I took wreath down for the winter and saved the little nest, because I didn’t have the heart to destroy a thing so beautifully made by tiny creatures that don’t have hands.
A Christmas wreath hung on the door until I finally got around to removing it in late January (well, it was festive; it brightened the winter-bleak days).
And I re-hung the “finch wreath,” which is clearly for springtime, but . . . I confess . . . I was hoping . . . .
And along mid-February—might it have been Valentine’s Day? Really?—I heard them.
The tell-tale cheerful chirps, the sweetest bird music, right outside my door.
My heart sang, too: You’re back, you’re back! Welcome home!
They built a new nest and then . . . nothing.
For weeks, nothing.
I began to worry, which makes no sense, because these tiny birds are much more adept at survival than I am. My worry was mostly selfish, I realized. I wanted the birds here, didn’t want them to change their minds, find another place. I wanted to hear their happy voices every morning, wanted the joy they unknowingly impart, wanted to see new life happen again.
Every day, I checked. The perfect little nest was barren. No finches in sight or within hearing.
The temperatures dropped below freezing again. Just as I began to fear that some fate had befallen my finch friends, I wondered: Is it possible that they knew another freeze was coming? That they built the nest as planned, right on schedule, but that they can hold off laying eggs until the cold spell passes? Can that happen?
Then, early yesterday morning, a chorus of chirpy cheer outside my door!
I had to go see . . .
—I have an egg!
Today at the exact same time will be another egg, tomorrow, maybe another, and soon I’ll know how big my little finch family will be.
But for now I just reflect, with reverential awe, on how the first egg came with the first bit of welcome warmth on the first day of the week.
My birds are back home, safe in their sanctuary, on Sunday morning.
And I sing for joy.