World Cup enthusiasts in Le Vieux Cannet des Maures -- an ancient village niché dans une colline/ nestled into a hill overlooking the valley of the Maures.

le nid
noun, masculine

It was the purple flowers that first caught my eye. Turning my back to the tournesols,* I set down the garden hose, tripping over it on my way to check out the fuzzy pointed tops jutting out of the stone flower-bed. Only two days before, I had envied the flowering mint in the neighbor's jardin,* and wondered why our own herbs never seemed to bud like that.

Moving in closer, I knelt down and examined the delicate lavender-colored flowers with the mint scent, just next to the bunch of three-leafed trèfles.* That's when I saw the nid*: a swirl of brown twigs no bigger than a child's knee. My hand drew close to the tumbledown nest as I searched for the small spotted eggs that I imagined belonged inside. Rien.*

I studied the fallen nest, amazed at one bird's creation, now cradled in my palm. Looking skyward to the towering oak above, I wondered which branch let drop this quiet-mannered tenant.

Perhaps the little nest followed in its gawky inhabitants' tracks, quitting the branch as the young birds quit the nest* (only to fall instead of fly). Who says le syndrome du nid vide* is for the birds? Might an inanimate bunch of sticks feel the loss as well?

Somewhat heartened, I looked down to the patch of mint, to the flowering bed of herbs that caught the empty nid. I thought it a heaven-scented place to land, and softly so.

References: le tournesol (m) = sunflower; le jardin (m) = garden; le trèfle (m) = clover, shamrock; le nid (m) = nest; rien = nothing; quit the nest ("quitter le nid" = to leave the nest); le syndrome du nid vide = empty-nest syndrome

French Pronunciation:
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the French word "nid": Download nid2.wav
Hear Jean-Marc's recite the French proverb: Petit à petit l'oiseau fait son nid / Little by little the bird makes its nest.: Download nid4.wav

Terms and Expressions:
nidifier = to build one's nest
la nidification = nesting
le nid d'amour = love nest
le nid d'oiseau = bird-nest
quitter le nid = to leave the nest
trouver le nid vide = to find the birds have flown
le syndrome du nid vide = empty-nest syndrome
un nid de guêpes = wasps' nest
un nid-de-poule = pothole

...and the English expression "nest egg" = le bas de laine (hoard of money) (also "le pécule" = store of money)

A few lines by Arthur Rimbaud, to illustrate today's word, "nid" :

Au bois il y a un oiseau, son chant vous arrête et vous fait rougir.
Il y a une horloge qui ne sonne pas.
Il y a une fondrière avec un nid de bêtes blanches...

In the woods there is a bird ; his song stops you and makes you blush.
There is a clock that does not strike.
There is a bog with a nest of white beasts...

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