About three weeks before Mom died, I was inspired: I went to True Value Hardware, and purchased two bird feeders.
I should take a step further back. Sometime in the fall, when my husband was frustrated that the wild birds were constantly flying into our chicken coop, he decided to dress up the pole that supported our power lines in our back yard. He installed a few feeders, in hopes the birds would be distracted by the seed and avoid three squares of chicken feed. The birds were thrilled, and I was able to experience bird watching for the first time in my life. It was relaxing. It put a smile on my face. It was the answer to a need I didn’t know I had. So, when I was so often away with my family in Phoenix, I missed the birds and knew that the picture window in my grandmother’s bedroom would be the ideal place to gaze at our migratory friends. I hung up the bird feeders and once they figured out there was food to be had, the front patio of my mother’s home was almost constantly filled with a frenzy of quail, finches, sparrows and thrashers. The patio is also accessible from the kitchen. Mom spent much of her final days there, gazing out the sliding glass doors onto patio, admiring her very own aviary. Fortunately, she was too sick to worry about bird poop.
At that time, we needed birds. These free, beautiful beings seemed to soar above and evade the pain and loss which permeated our every moment. We gathered with our family in the kitchen and enjoyed watching their antics around the feeders. The hospice nurse snapped pictures whenever she visited. Grandma smiled from her bedroom, where she is often confined. The only joy I can recall from December was found bird watching.
Mom has since taken flight. I recently have felt her presence pushing me forward, encouraging me to plunge ahead into the future. She wants me to spread my wings and fly.
I still need those birds in my life- to remind me how to be brave, yet graceful, connected, yet transcendent.