The Oriole's Nest
Richard L. Floyd
". . . The winter is passed, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth: the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land." - Song of Solomon 2:11,12
We had a hard winter here in the Berkshire Hills where I make my home. I usually enjoy winter, skiing and snowshoeing, but this year even I got tired of the endless ice and snow and the days and days of freezing cold.
Last summer we had an oriole's nest at the edge of our property where our lawn meets the big marsh behind our house. When the trees were leafed out you couldn't see it, and we only knew it was there because Momma oriole made frequent trips to feed the nestlings, and we could hear their insistent chirping. Then, one day, they were gone; my neighbor sighted them flying by her window.
Autumn came, the leaves turned and fell, and the empty oriole's nest was now clearly visible on its bare branch, looking like David's sling hanging down by a thread. It had dried and shriveled and darkened and was about the size of a softball.
The nest-maker had done a good job, because through months and months of harsh fall and winter weather, through rain and snow and high winds, the nest stayed put, clinging to its branch.
I saw it out my window every day. I took comfort that it was still there, a reminder of last summer's long green delightful days, and of birdsong on the marsh. It seemed a sign of good seasons to come, of another spring and summer, of sitting on the back porch, enjoying friends and watching brilliant sunsets.
The other day we had fierce winds and when I looked out the window the nest was gone. Its time had come. Spring was upon us, and there needed to be space for new leaves and new nests and new birds.
O God of the seasons, in the dark and cold times in our lives, make space for the new life you are preparing for us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.