There's no better celebration of any season than the decorated tree adorned with the rich symbolism of nature—my ritual to inform and inspire you in the journey called life.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

song of (her) life

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. 
It sings because it has a song.
                                                —Chinese Proverb

I'M   F A S C I N A T E D  with birds. This spring, I hung three bird feeders in a dying tree to bring some life to it. They bring a myriad of birds to dine just outside my dining room window.

I'M   N O T   S U R E  whether it was when crows weirdly gathered on my mother's hospital room window ledge while she was on her deathbed, but ever since then I've been especially aware of birds whenever I see them. I've always loved their happy nature and it's obvious they have an uncanny sense of their surroundings in possessing a profound sense of the natural order of things.

T H E Y   B R I N G  a cheerful song to anyone who takes the time to listen. My mother gave our family the song of her life. In doing so, she gave us all an authentic sense of ourselves. My sister and I were at her bedside when she died. I was holding mother's left hand and my sister held her right hand. It was a heart-wrenching, but profound experience watching her take her last breath—the woman who was there for both of us for our first breath. I've never felt such a desperate loss and uplifting sense of peace at the same time, but I did that day (July 10, 2005). I felt as if my world had been turned inside-out and upside-down. I'll always remember my mother telling me when she knew something I thought she didn't. She would say, "A little bird told me so." I believed it. Now I know—birds must be protectors of the soul.

M E S S E N G E R S  of love and harbingers of good things to come, glass birds have become a universal symbol of happiness and joy when placed on the decorated tree. Few glassblowing studios make them well because they are one of the more difficult ornaments to make. You'll find them with actual feathers for tails, but in Germany, their tails were originally made from bundles of spun glass. Both types have their own charm. More often than not, they are attached to springed clips so you can position them atop branches of the tree, rather than hanging below. This makes them very useful in composing a beautiful tree.

C O N V I N C E D  they are our protectors, I think birds can foretell things to come—both good and bad. Imagine if you always had a bird's-eye view of life. No matter which they bring, they always give us joyful songs of life. Even though we don't know a word they are saying, we understand them to be wise creatures, indeed.

A N D  T O  T H E  women who raised me—my mother and my sister (shorty momma)—I know you're out there—I love you both with all of my heart and soul.

HAPPY HARBINGERS | These three bird ornaments were bought as a boxed set, from Michael's Stores, Inc. (above, right). They are attached to a dead stem from the tree which I hung bird feeders this spring (left), which decorate the tree just outside my dining room window.

collecting, photography and styling by Darryl Moland

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