Monday, December 26, 2011

Tiny Nests

On the 24th, I took a break from Christmas kitchen madness to go for a walk.  The temp was near 50 degrees which was perfect walking weather. Winter is a great opportunity to see the structure of trees and small nests which are not visible in other seasons.  Who lives in these tiny nests and how do they manage in such small spaces, I wondered? Perhaps they were occupied by migrating birds because they now appear to be empty. I'm sure an ornithologist could tell me whether or not they are occupied but I am not an ornithologist so instead I thought about tiny nests, the places we live, and the stuff we think we need to make our nests habitable.

In comparison to most other people in the world, I am wealthy. I have a new weather tight roof over my head. My home is warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I have dishes to serve Christmas brunch and lovely mugs for ginger tea and coffee shop coffee. If a certain grandson comes to visit, I can load his hot chocolate with a handful of marshmallows. When I need medicine, I purchase it from the local drugstore. I have warm, clean, well fitting clothing and three winter coats. I have enough beautiful yarn to keep me in projects well beyond 2012 but that is a story for another post. My list of nest-stuff is almost endless. Most importantly, I have family and friends I dearly love and who love me back. In other words, my nest is a treasure compared to many.

Curious about the origin of the word "nest," I pulled out my American Heritage College Dictionary and discovered "nest" comes from several old languages. Like many word origins, the historical path wanders and branches ( no pun intended).  Nest comes from an Old English suffix "-sed yo" which means to sit. The word has several other connections but the one which made sense to me combines the Germanic word, "nistaz," meaning niche, and the Old English suffix" -sed." Following the path back even further, the German "nistaz" came from the Latin "nidus" nest, which in turn was made up of a combination of the words, "Kuzdho" (treasure) and the Germanic "-zd" (sitting). Thus a nest, literally means "sitting over a treasure."

Strange I know but I enjoy these adventures through the appendices of my dictionary. Now, the sun is shining and I 'm off for another walk to see what else I can discover.

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