Thoughts: Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space (1958), Section 4: Nests

The concept of a home space that is compared to the nest of birds was a very interesting concept that I found myself understanding in this reading. Amongst the many poetic concepts and stories that were mentioned in this chapter, what impacted me the most is the human’s way of perceiving what is ‘home’. A very common perception is of a piece of land, in which stands a piece of architecture, and within it stores the materials that pleases the human inhabiting that architecture. The comparison of the house to a nest reminded me of a magpie, which would steal shiny objects to place in their nest, no matter whether it is mismatched or of different quality, as long as it likes the object, it becomes a belonging in its space. Humans, too, purchase items of different size, quality, colour and material to put in their home, to make it filled with items that they fancy. It doesn’t matter if some items did not match, it still had some meaning to the owner of the house.

I really liked the part of the reading where the author mentioned about bringing himself calm when he gets disruptive neighbours, by comparing them to the woodpeckers in a garden. The disruption of the neighbours do make him annoyed, but it also assures him that there are people around him, that this area is nicely inhabited, similar to a garden with many animals. The better the condition of the garden, the more animals and insects the garden will attract, and by comparing that to a house concept, a well-lived home is always one that has many people around.

Using the house to define one’s ‘personal boundary’ is also a concept i understood through this reading. The part of the reading where the author mentioned that a nest was built with the bird’s whole body, and literally made with the heart. Putting your time, money and soul into giving a space a definition, especially one that is closer to your heart, is something that holds high importance in the human heart. That is why we always associate home with a sense of belonging, and the best place to relax and be yourself.

Of course, the perception of a ‘homespace’ does not need to be a physical object (aka the actual house), but some people perceive ‘home’ as the occupants that live in the space. After all, an empty nest without birds is just a collection of branches and leaves to others. This type of ‘home’ transcends the normal structure of what many people think of when the word ‘home’ comes to mind, and instead focuses on the ’emotional space’ between people. The ones that have a stronger relationship may consider their interactions with friends as ‘home’ – that is a sense of belonging.

By putting the concept of a bird nest as an analogy to a human’s house, the definition of a home is now opened up to so much debate, and associations with the deeper perception of space – the ’emotional space’, ‘personal space’ and the relationships between people that affect a home environment – that can be further explored.

Author: Amanda Lee

Sometimes what you are most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free

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