nestled among bare thorns
an old bird nest spilling red
fragments of rose hips
On the shortest day of the year, I go for a walk in the winter bleak woods, shiny wet from a slow misty rain. Bare gooseberry and multiflora rose bushes stretch their thorny branches out across the open space of the trail, catching my boiled wool jacket as I pass. At one huge multiflora bush sprawling along Pilgrim Creek, I stop to pick clusters of red rose hips to decorate my evergreen wreath. I don't have a knife, so it's tricky sticky business, reaching among the wicked briars to break off the bracts.
As I try to extricate myself from the impaling thorns, I notice an old bird nest, tucked safely away back from the trail. From the loose, twiggy construction, it looks like the work of a Robin. The nest is filled with the red remains of rose hips, the half-eaten fragments deposited perhaps by the same birds who hatched from that nest last spring.
Hanging vertically in its thorny cage, the nest looks like the red heart of winter.