My dear friend Laura, a talented spinner and weaver of all things wool, made me a most magical and lovely gift a couple weeks ago: a spirit nest, created from the silky fleece of her very own treasured sheep. Filled with the unique energy and spirit of each individual animal as well as her own, the nest is something quite special for me, indeed.
Laura is a very sensitive and spiritual person. She and her husband have a small farm not far from my house, with chickens, goats, an orchard, a garden, and of course, their beautiful sheep. In shades of white, cream, gray, brown and near black, all the sheep have names and unique natures. They are sheared twice per year – usually only once for most animals, but they are so well-cared for and healthy they grow their coats back quickly– and Laura lovingly tends and keeps their fleece for her various creations.
All the wool remains undyed and retains the rich, natural color of each sheep. She has already knit several beautiful bags. But the nests were something new, an idea she’d recently begun to explore.
The day my nest was born, I was feeling troubled and very sad. Laura and I were on the phone, messaging actually, back and forth. I often turn to her for help with issues around my animals, as she and I share a deep love for and commitment to them. My young cat Clark was having problems again (he has a liver shunt, a birth defect that causes neurological issues, among other things), and I was depressed over his prospects for a healthy or even lengthy life. Not even a year old yet, he most likely won’t grow into the happy and carefree cat I imagined when he was a magical, little gray furball not so long ago.
Laura could feel the sadness I was experiencing that day. She’s had her own losses and struggles with animals, it’s part of our common ground. During our conversation she became inspired to create the spirit nest to help me and started working.
She spun as we talked, pulling a particular sheep’s fleece as she felt drawn to. She asked me for several words to focus on, positive ones to help guide her. Right away, they came to mind. I kept on talking, unburdening myself. And over time, as the nest came more and more into being, I could feel myself gradually growing calmer, stronger. I felt its newborn energy reaching me across and through the physical space between us, settling over me like the gentlest touch from a loving hand.
It was several days until I could meet Laura and collect the nest. I was excited but also nervous to have it, almost as if I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to care for it properly. I even asked her if she could keep it for me. But she said no, it was meant to come home with me.
I cried, of course, when I saw it. It was so simple and beautiful. When I picked it up it was warm, filled to brimming with all the energy and love inside it. She told me this nest was a first, that she had never before made one for anyone while talking with them. And that our shared experience that day had been as unique and powerful for her as it was for me. We hugged for a long time, and I told her I would make a special place for it at home.
The nest came with one small request: I was to find two questions marks (Laura collects them), one for her to keep and one for me. Together, they would help us both remember even more what we’d shared that day the nest was created.
Driving home, I felt as if I was bringing back the Holy Grail. In a way I was, as I’d been tasked with a quest, of sorts, on receiving it. One, I think, that will be quite interesting to fulfill.
When I got home, I knew right where I wanted to place my nest. Or I should say, it told me where it needed to go. Settled in among photographs of my beloved pets, my parents, my friends, it rests on top of a cabinet filled with books and mementos in the living room where I can see it every single day.
I often walk by and rub the nest’s creamy fleece between my fingers, and I’ve placed another gift Laura gave me a long time ago beneath it for safekeeping. Whenever I touch it, I can feel it’s power and I’m reminded again of the healing and loving energy inside. The soft fibers shift every time I touch them; they will never take on the same shape twice. My nest is a living thing, really, with a quite palpable soul all its own. A gift of the spirit, as so few things truly are. I will treasure it, I know, and protect it always, as it’s meant to treasure and protect me.
And now I am on the lookout for question marks everywhere. Let the quest begin.
I've never really liked labels: I am this, I am that... But in the interest of introducing myself to the world, I can say that I am many things: nurse, writer, photographer, poet, painter, gardener, friend, armchair philosopher, counselor, nature lover, real-estate aficionado, movie buff, sometime yogi, and aspiring world-traveler. I think that's a pretty good list... for now. I want to become a bigger part of the vital, creative force I feel deeply at work in the world and connect with other people who want to do the same.