Straight and tall, full and wide, a lush green pom-pom was suspended by a thick and sturdy trunk. Nestled on a sloping piece of land in a spot that was the perfect mix of sun and shade stood the tree that would be their home. The home of their nest.
It was beautiful. From the top of the tree, they could see nothing but infinite sky. When they looked below, they could observe the goings on of the earth dwellers, land creatures and humans alike. They had views of sunrises and sunsets, yet also had their privacy, sheltered by a plume of wide, fan-like leaves that kept the spot cool and hidden like a secret hideaway. This was the spot. This was the place in which they could see their future: two little ones flitting in and out, playing in the breeze, enjoying the land they have come to see as their own.
They had a vision. Now, they began working toward it. They set out every day to gather what they would need to build their nest, though it would not be just any nest. It would be comfortable and cozy, spacious yet close; it was to be a place where they could all come together, their destination for connection, for chatter, for meals, for unity. This was to be the hub of their family, the single location from which life will come, life will grow, and life will flourish.
Soon enough, their vision came true — their nest was complete. It was comfortable and cozy. It had space to spread their wings, yet keep close together. It was ready to be filled with chatter, with meals, with time together.
Along came their first pride and joy, and joy is exactly what this one brought to their nest. Then came another, and the joy was twofold. The nest became exactly what they had hoped, abounding with the chattering of jokes, the flitting of play, the living that they could see when they first landed in the spot. There was light, there was love, this was home.
The leaves changed color season after season, the trees went bare season after season, yet year after year, the nest persisted. Through pelting rain, it remained a haven. Through branch-bending snow, it remained intact. Through tree-snapping winds, there it stayed. And season after season, year after year, the family came back, settled into its nest, resumed the life it had long held.
But changes in seasons, changes in years also brought changes in the family. The two that brought joy with their addition all those sunrises and sunsets ago started to spread their joy beyond the nest, spending more time outside the nest than within it. They flew away more often and came back less. The chattering stopped. The flitting of play ceased. The nest is more quiet now, more still than it has been since before their home first became their home.
The days passed. The seasons changed. The nest remained. But one year, only two returned. They sat. They waited. They remembered. They remembered the way their little ones made their nest come alive. They remembered the way their nest transformed from a mere dream, to a dream-like reality when they arrived. They remembered the chattering, the playing, the eating, the nestling. They remembered it all. They saw it all before their eyes as if the walls of the nest were replaying the memories of their lives back to them.
It is quiet. Too quiet. And it is still, far too still. The walls of the nest were the only things that spoke, recalling all the life it once held. The time for the nest had come and gone, they thought. Life had come, it had grown, it had flourished. Now, it did just as they once did and flew away.
They sat in their nest, knowing it would be for the last time. For it was time for them, too, to fly to a new adventure. To where or to what, they did not yet know. What they did know, what they believed to be true, was that they did the best they could with the nest they built, with the lives they raised.
Yes, the nest had served its purpose and did so in the most beautiful of ways.
Now, it was time to spread their wings and fly.