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March 19th  2011    Tim Candler

    Not certain, this morning, how confident I am in the  "tidy/untidy nest theory".  Yesterday this theory made so much sense, but without actually seeing the nest of a Passenger Pigeon I will never be able to locate it on a continuum of neatness.

    Certainly my own idea of neatness is subjectively figured.  I can become quite outraged by the untidiness of others.  I can curl the lip, as well as anyone else.  But there is no doubt, if I was a bird I would be classified as "untidy nest builder."  Nor could I be classified as a being who "flocks".   Yet my assumption has been, "The untidier the nest the more social the being".  So there is a drift in me that requires a concrete moment.

    I should perhaps look instead toward the words "Intimate" and "Distant" to describe nesting, rather than "Tidy" and "Untidy".  

     I can think of the nests of weaver birds, which are intricate and complex.  Beautiful sometimes.

    There are Weavers who build communal nests, which are huge, last through generations and even centuries. These nests are like haystacks carried by trees, and however inspiring they may be to look at, these nests are not neat. Some Weaver Birds build their nests in clusters of ten, fifteen, twenty nests.  Each nest perfectly formed and perfectly neat.   There are Weavers who prefer to build alone, and their nests reach pinnacles of neatness.

    Weaver Birds that are social, quarrel happily, drown the day with "tweets" and "whistles" and do not understand the words "Shut up".  I always found them exhausting to be around, which is odd because I think of myself as an "untidy nest builder."

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