My nest has emptied again; with Phoebe’s departure for her second semester of college, the bustle of winter break comes to an end. After she drove away, I realized that I had yet to choose today’s earrings—how better to distract myself from the sudden silence. I wandered upstairs, thinking of fledglings leaving the nest. From among my many pairs of birds, I selected one that has lain unworn in a drawer for several years. Although they are now a drab gray, I chose to buy these carved soapstone birds because they were a brilliant blue, perfect for the two-week nature study unit on Eastern Bluebirds that I used to teach every spring. They look nothing like they did 12 years ago. But then neither do my offspring, who have once again taken flight; and neither, for that matter, do I. All of those other birds, I’ll save for days when I venture away from this empty nest. These little gray birds need some space to fly once more.