While painting this still life, I became quite emotional and nostalgic as I experienced a small form of empty nest, myself. My little baby had just started Kindergarten and was also taking the bus for the first time. I must say that every time that bus pulls away, my heart aches. So this painting took on that bittersweet tone and a story developed as its backdrop that might just give you the warm fuzzies.
The Caretaker’s Empty Nest
by Rebecca Finch
He laid the nest gingerly on the weathered table. It was a mesmerizing swirl of twigs, string, hair and feathers. He tried to recall how long it had been since the two birds had moved into the foliage beside his shed. He’d occasionally unlocked the old gate to peek in on their house project as they came and went, gathering supplies. The dense bush there provided visual protection, however he still managed to see down through their wooded skylight to watch every preparation.
It was only a few weeks later the silence was continually broken with intense chirping as mother and father bird made countless trips to feed their babies. Through the night, and on through the day, they took shifts. Then the feathers grew in and the chirp pitches lowered. Their first falls and first successful flights. He’d been there to see it all – cheering quietly, indulging his curiosity, stifling a gasp here and a chuckle there. Each stage rekindled memories of the growing and changing of his own children, years ago.
Seeing more than just a bird’s nest, he gathered the feathers that had fallen to the floor of his old cabin. They were like old toys left behind by now grown children; representations of a life stage now past. He would keep the nest as a mother keeps a family scrapbook.
But now he needed something to fill the space that watching over this tiny family had filled over the last two months. There was an emptiness, like a house, oddly still during the first day of school. The void brought his thoughts full circle and before he knew it, he was on the phone talking to his daughter. With children of her own chattering away and filling days with memories to be stored for her own twilight years, father and daughter reconnected.