The efficient beauty of a magpie’s nest


I was delighted and alarmed to find a charming magpie’s nest overhanging my street this morning.  It’s apparent fragility caught my attention.  It is a study in efficiency, if it manages to last the season.



The idea of the minimum requirement weaves throughout my year.  It originated in the resolutions of my Year of Efficient Eating, where the aim was to establish new habits based on the minimum daily requirement of particular food groups.  Now, the idea of using the minimum necessary to achieve a goal is spreading to other areas.

The light touch of the bird’s nest is a strong contrast to my home.  I’ve been feeling overburdened, wanting instead a streamlined, organised, functional space in which to live.  But in working towards that, I don’t want to loose the things I love – those things that have special meaning and memory.

So, the inspiration to draw from this magpie’s nest will be to lighten the load – efficiently – while maintaining the emotional connections to who I am and where I came from.




5 thoughts on “The efficient beauty of a magpie’s nest

  1. This is an interesting blog! I love how you have the home page set up so that we can read about the underlying motivations and the underlying themes before we venture off to fill in the gaps. I often go into the outdoors and create functional metaphors such as this one you present here. It is so interesting that when we are engaging the world with a certain mindset, the images we see are inevitably put into comparison –either coinciding or contrasting — either way ultimately enriching whatever growth comes of it.


    1. Thank you Johannes for the positive feedback. I’m particularly taken with your phrase “engaging the world with a certain mindset”. That’s got me thinking. I don’t want to be limiting myself by deploying just one metaphor; there are so many intriguing ways of thinking and categorising available to us.


      1. I didn’t mean to say you were limiting yourself at all! I think that we must approach the world at all times with a certain mindset. Hopefully, however, that mindset changes as we interact with the world and gain new information.


      2. Never fear Johannes. I did not think you were saying I was limiting myself. But just as my encouter with the magpie produced an outcome completely unintended by the maker of the nest, so it is possible that our encounters with the writings and words of others can take us in unintended and, hopefully, useful directions.


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