"When finches come into our awareness it is a sure sign of prosperous and joyous times ahead. Finches are an omen of high energy and bright days on the horizon. Natives held the finch as a symbol of upcoming celebration. Finches are song birds, and their music heralds the bounty of spring. When the finch sings to our awareness it is a beckoning to unleash our own song. If we’ve been concealing our brilliance from the world – the finch is a sign to start making our value more audible and available to others. Its bird meaning deals with sociability too, and if the finch comes into your life it may be a signal to get more involved with social activities."
Even better than the sparrow.
In 2010 I took a writing class with the amazing Jack Grapes. It was terrifying. I learned - thankfully after the experience - that Jack is known as "The Writing Teacher to the Stars." There were some in the class, but they were nice folk, not intimidating at all.
Until they started to read. Until EVERYone started to read.
Oh, gawd. My poor little autistic shysoul almost didn't make it. But damn, I learned a lot in those weeks. And made a few special friends who helped me through a rough spot or two. Or ten.
Anyway, my most popular piece was one I called "Bird Dance." In it we were supposed to make our story take an unexpected turn. I'm most proud of it because when I finished reading, there was a long moment of silence before one of the other students said, "I wasn't expecting that at all." Then Jack exclaimed - rather jubilantly , I thought - that that was how it was supposed to work! (Oh, and I apologize, Jack. Too many adverbs).
Anyway, Bernie's little finch reminded me of Bird. So here is "Bird Dance," a very short story. (BTW, it really happened).
Bird is in the kitchen again.
She's the plainest little brown bird Nature makes with a shrill one-note chirp as birdsong.
I hear her splashing in the birdbath most mornings. I believe she appreciates my efforts to fill her little day-spa with tiny roses and Labrador violets.
Today, though, she's come for lunch. She visits the kitchen on those days when I want the outdoors inside with me. I know her routine. First on the fence, checking to see if the welcome mat is out. Then a silent flutter to the top of the freezer. From there it's just a quick hop to the island to see if anyone left toast crumbs today.
She scored big time when we got Dodger. I've never had another animal who made such a mess eating.
Bird loves him.
Today she brought someone with her. Junior makes me laugh out loud. All big feet and scruffy feathers without an ounce of grace, he is not as adept at perching on the fence as his mother. She calls from the top of the freezer. He sasses back, but she's probably getting tired of feeding a kid who's bigger than she is, so she insists he come in. He lurches into the kitchen in an uncoordinated flurry of disjointed wings that reminds me more of those revolving-wing garden ornaments than bird flight. He tries to land on the table but can't get his footing, sliding almost into Dodger, who is dancing in excitement, tripping over his own size sixteen Lab feet.
A quick twist and Junior whirls out of harms way to end up plastered to the family room window screen. It's clear he won't be going anywhere for a while. I stop laughing and turn to see how Mom's doing. I swear she's shaking her little birdy head in the same, "I give up" manner used by moms throughout time.
I will grieve for Bird when she doesn't visit anymore. It can't be much longer; she must be getting up there in bird years.
It's odd. I lost my dad to cancer this summer, and a friend to misperception, fear and temper just this week. Grief feels the same, whatever the cause. It's a wound to the soul that festers in the gut until it claws its way to lodge in the throat.
I'm grateful to Nature, who sends plain brown birds and their break-dancing adolescents to comfort me.
Summer of 2014, I had another towhee visitor. It may have been Bird, I suppose, as there is one on record having lived almost thirteen years. She came into the kitchen, this time picking up some crumbs off the floor, then headed all the way back to the opposite end of the house to check out my newly redecorated studio.
I still get the towhees in the birdbath, and come summer, I'll continue to leave the kitchen door open to the side yard when I'm here.
She - and her family - is welcome here any time.