Friday, June 05, 2009

The Friday Ramble - Bereft

The word bereft is an old one, the past participle of the verb bereave, and it comes to us through the Middle English bereven, the Old English berēafian, the Dutch berooven and the Germanic berauben, all probably originating in the Gothic biraubō, meaning to be deprived of something and to feel the loss keenly.

For the past week or three, the main activity here has been watching a pair of house finches build a nest in the oak wreath on the door of the little blue house in the village and raise a family there. Working together, the pair constructed an artful nursery, and when all was ready, the female deposited three pale blue eggs in the nest. Within a week or two, the eggs had hatched out, and there were three speckled children watching the great wide world unfold from their twiggy home and clamoring for food whenever their doting parents arrived.

Yesterday, the brood spread their wings for the first time, and as the proud but weary parents sat nearby in the crabapple tree, the two older fledglings took flight and fluttered around the front garden triumphantly. The third child was in no hurry to depart and sat comfortably in the nest for a few hours longer as the parents perched on the wreath by turns, feeding it and cheering it on to greater things. Their exhortations were wonderful to hear from the open window here in the study. An hour or so before sunset the third child departed the nest on steady wings, and for the first time in weeks, there was silence on our threshold.

It is the "empty nest" thing - I was as proud as the parents were yesterday, but sad to see the little finches leave, and the right word for the feeling is bereft. It should noted, however, that my wreath is a total write off.


angela said...

Love your story and the artwork is beautifully fluttery...

I know that feeling--to watch the little ones from the egg and want so much to nurture them too. There's some protective instinct in me...when bluebirds were in our first nestbox and the fledgling took first flight my whole family was pressed to the window. A crow landed on the wooden fence post watching as the little one made its first flutterings. I slung into action opening and flinging toward the crow--the baby and daddy separated and I chased the little one, concerned something else would harm it. Husband just rolls his eyes.

silverlight said...

Whaa magical thing. To be Godparent to a family of new birds.
Typical of offspring. They fly away, with out a good bye.

Sky said...

what a happy success story although i know you feel sad that they are gone. i don't recall the numbers now, but the number of unsuccessful nests is staggering. it would be so sad to be a part of that disaster. we are hoping for success with our 2 nests. so far, so good. hopefully, another spring, another family in your personal paradise.

Anonymous said...

I am feeling the same way Dear One....Bereft.
Don't know why, it comes and it goes.
Wonderful words and photos..

greentangle said...

Every year we watch peregrine falcons bring a few new fledglings into the world from a nest box on one of downtown's tall buildings. The youngsters provide a lot of entertainment and anxiety every year until they master flying.

But for the feeling of bereavement at home, it's been the brushpile in the woody area across the alleyway which has been home to a series of rabbits who sooner or later never come back.