The Gamble of Love: Lessons from Nature

by Jared

From the veranda where I’m working, I watch both an entertaining and heartbreaking exercise. A male weaver near exhausts himself building what he hopes may be the perfect nest to raise the next season’s chicks. When complete a female will then be invited to inspect his workmanship.

He must build fast – the greener the nest the more attractive to the female and naturally the chosen foliage starts to brown with time. Dishearteningly, I’ve watched as the unimpressed female has dismissed several of his best attempts.

The male then dismantles or destroys the nest and begins again in earnest. Walking over to inspect one of the fallen nests I marvelled at its expert weaving, the surprising spaciousness, and the soft grass that had been perfectly placed inside for maximum comfort. Clearly my untrained-weaver eye was unable to detect the reason for its disposal.

Off he goes again, in and out, a flurry of yellow wings trailed by freshly cut grass. Occasionally a female flits by and feigns the bare minimal interest, but then quickly darts off again. Finally, the next offering is complete. He stands proudly puffing his small body calling out to prospective nest-inspectors.

I’m humbly reminded that there is always risk with love. A seeming gamble of desire and decision. And one can’t dwell long on whether destiny offers defeat or approval for too long, for a female has arrived and there is a nest to be examined.

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south african travel journalist