Hummingbird’s Nest

By Elizabeth Oxendine, TIWP Graduate

I used to make hummingbird nests out of laundry lint. There was this indescribable balance in the knowing that something so easily lost to the wind was a solid foundation for a soul just as fragile. Now at 19, the smell of detergent and sneezes from stray pieces of lint were a different kind of foundation for my own soul. Routine is often seen as a static being that goes stale after too much time in the open air, or a tradition that has the power to transform active thinking into automatic machinery, numbing away the world in which it works. But for me routine has always been the steel bones of a skyscraper in the height of development, a way for me to take risks and flow dynamically without the fear of losing all normalcy. Saturdays were my always when my life was constantly being kneaded and shaped by living 3,091 miles away from the town where I had put down thick roots since age two. Saturdays meant ducking out into the hallway and having the automatic ceiling light wave good morning by flicking on as soon as I took my first step. They meant slick fingers that danced against one another after pulling out two tide pods from my stash. They meant, for once in my life that I had good ass posture from carrying a basket bursting at the seams from the weight of my clothes. Saturdays were lukewarm Dunkin’ Donuts and the sweet remnants of cream cheese hovering around my lips like a waning halo. They were the chips of plastic that frayed from my ID card every time I swiped my card to pay for the dryer. They were the muscle strain from rolling my eyes too many times watching Thursday’s Grey’s Anatomy while I waited for the timer to run out. They were filled with the wafting sound of old jazz sneaking through the vents from the dining hall. Saturdays were the plastic like material of the couch sticking to my legs as I perched myself outside the laundry room like a mother hen. There had been too many occasions that someone had moved my soaking wet panties, but it felt like a badge of honor that it happened enough times that I had fostered a strong annoyance of it. Familiarity in college is the first sign of daisy stems pushing against the crystalized soil of late February. Familiarity in college is like laundry lint—the material that makes a nest, the material that makes a home. 

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