Lifestyle

Life's powerful message, found inside a bird's nest | Nandell Palmer

The multi-hued object lodges precariously on the low-lying tree branch in front of the apartment building.

It begs to be secluded, but the shoulder-high hedging is hardly any protection to ward off passersby from stealing a look.

Meanwhile, rush-hour crowds make mad dashes crisscrossing the ultra-busy thoroughfare. Schoolchildren banter with each other while some bob away from the ubiquitous iPods. And luxurious Mercedes Benz taxis zip by with exotic-looking tourists.

This is the heart of Frankfurt, Germany — a stone’s throw away from the city’s gargantuan train station, the Hauptbanhof.

Of all my time traveling overseas, I have never seen anything so original from the animal kingdom: A bird’s nest, festooned with about a third of manmade materials — drinking straws, ripped-up paper napkins, hard plastic strips, just to name a few.

One had to look keenly to see any element of traditional bird’s nest materials, such as twigs and straw.

I had a good belly-busting laugh looking at this designer’s nest for more than 10 minutes before I departed. My greatest wish, though, was to catch a glimpse of its architect. Would she arrive bedecked with colorful stockings and wing guards made from chiffon or silk?

For a while, I thought that some miscreant who had nothing better to do had created this hoax. But days later, I combed through the Internet and was shocked to see multiple photographs of “garbage-enhanced” birds nests throughout the world, two of the more unique ones in The Netherlands and Baltimore, Md.

The Germans are known globally for their innovations regarding product development. And I wondered out loud, could this creativity be trickled down even to their birds?

On second thought, I pondered the critical time we are living in. With the world’s economies in a death spiral, and unemployment skyrocketing through the roof, things don’t seem to augur well for many. But our feathered friend doesn’t seem to be fazed by the financial maelstroms.

She seems to be operating in lockstep to my late grandmother’s counsel: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

Mother Birdie figures, “I have some eggs to lay and chicks to hatch. I have some creative genes to pass on to my young ones, and absolutely nothing will hinder me from doing so!”

There are bird lovers, no doubt, who will be miffed by my injecting humor in an otherwise serious situation. And yes, in some sectors, it could be construed as failure on humanity’s part to fully usurp precious real estate while slowly edging out our wildlife into oblivion.

Let it be known that my intention is not to score a punch line at the expense of animals’ predicament. I am just looking at the lighter side of things.

While living in New York City, I had about five generations of pigeons hatched from my balcony floor on just bare concrete.

In fact, I later provided them a milk crate and a towel for added security and comfort. Those pigeons were low-maintenance birds. All they needed was a place to lay their eggs.

Metaphorically, I believe that the Frankfurt bird’s nest could teach us all an invaluable lesson: There are certain things in life we cannot live without, while in other cases, we have to constantly adapt. That’s just life.

Many people are doing just that today. They are downsizing their spending habits in order to stay current with their mortgage. Some are forced to cut their gym memberships in lieu of jogging or brisk walking. Others are cooking at home more frequently instead of eating out.

These are but a few examples of how people have to substitute the financial twigs and straw for other non-traditional materials in order to stay in the game of life. At the end of the day, they will have been the same people. But only a bit stronger, wiser and more determined.

I hardly believe that the offspring hatched from that nest will suffer any great loss in terms of character deficiency or impairment. Their singing, perhaps, could become even sweeter. Their longevity even more acute.

It is said that the strongest plants tend to come from the manure pile. And despite her cottage being built with flotsam and jetsam from the city dump, most likely she’s proud of her creation.

My hope is that once man and bird have navigated their way through life’s colorful paths, and utilized whatever means necessary to be creative and adaptable, we, too, can sing like Bob Marley’s three birds: “Don’t worry about a thing, ‘cause every little thing is gonna be all right.”

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