Friday, October 2, 2009

Bird Stories

A simple bird sitting on the line outside my pottery shop.

This guy named Neller's rescued from a city drain has been scene in the yard with several birds of all species in his mouth looking proud. Never trust him!
Angel holding bird, made by me last year. Still available in a gallery in Sapulpa. About 29 " Tall

This was really fun to make. Bird Woman. $45

Book with wings. Located in the Contemprorary Museum of Art in Fort Worth. Enormous!

Parakeet for sale spotted in a pet shop in Costa Rica.

I love birds and tonight was a very good bird night. I was sitting at my potter's wheel throwing in the early evening and I felt like stopping and looking out the big garage door behind me to enjoy the evening sunset light. And there, on the channel 2 tower I saw what I thought might be a hawk. It shuffled and shook it's feathers and I knew it was true. I am certain it is the same bird I have been circled by in my studio all week. I usually look up only to see a trace of him going by or see his shadow. I think he has been checking me out.
He was majestic sitting on an available metal rod sticking out near the top of the tower. I put on Native American Flute music and thought he might come down to visit near the open garage door of my studio but he didn't. I offered him a glass of red wine but that was not his cup of tea. He just sat. Perhaps if I had played mouse music he would have come down.
There was a small mouse on of my students saw the other night who wanted to come in the door of my shop but changed his mind when he heard the students cackling in my shop and having a good time. Maybe the hawk knows about him. A nice little mouse sandwich for later.
Anyway, it was quite the moment, doors open in the shop, all alone, making pots, the hawk and the nearly full moon. That is when I am grateful to be an artist and have my own shop.

Bird stories. I have so many.

The shop owner where I worked in Austin Texas said she was working in an open studio in Austin with the windows wide open when a small bird came and perched on the window seal. She put her hand out toward the bird, with her index finger pointed out and it came and perched on her finger. Someones escaped rescued bird perhaps?

My Grandmother told me when she moved to Rising Sun Indiana she was walking down the sidewalk and splat, bird poo smacked her on the face. She was having a very difficult time with so many little children to raise and very little help from her spoon playing, bar hopping husband, and the poo was just a sign of the luck in that town after moving there. The Ohio river flooded and took all her possessions away floating them down the river in the 30's flood. Her name was written on the bottom everything she owned after that, just in case, I suppose.

My husband and his roommates, before we got married had parakeets. One died and the other was terribly angry and nasty after that. One night he had a little extra bird tonic, he got real friendly landing on every ones head etc. Amazing what a little tonic will do. Later he was eaten by the cat.

I visited a friend who was ill with cancer and I saw a dead hawk in the yard. Fearing the worst and old wives tales I did not want to be superstitious and think this meant death to my friend. It scared me. Later a medicine man, Native American, explained, many times an animal will give its life for the human to survive. My friend survived and thrives now. I had daydreams holding this friends hands flying above the trees of his property spinning and flying toward good health. OK, so now I have lost half my readers because of the lack of rational science in the writing. Try me again later.

I read a Barbra Kingsolver book and she described birds eating from the park rangers hat while she wore it. I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon with Barbara, a real treat thanks to a dear friend introducing us, and I asked her about that scene. I told her I knew she did not just make it up. She agreed. Her husband is a bird scientist and she told me how to make that happen. You get a lively bright hat and put it outside with birdseed on it. When the birds find it, you move it and bring it in. Repeat several times. After a while, try wearing it and sit still in the yard and they will probably come to it and eat out of the hat on your head. I have not tried it but I love the idea.

So, birds have it down and they have Mother Nature on their side. How many times have people tried to fly? What fools we made of ourselves. And birds, well the just take off and do it. We make up myths about flying too close to the sun. Fat chance that will really happen. OK, so we have hang gliders and parachutes. Big deal! Those are only forced temporary solutions. Otherwise somehow we have to use incredible amounts of fuel, build big metal machines and about pop every one's ears to get off the ground. Remember first we must be searched for tweezers, 4 oz liquids or more, etc in case someone doesn't want to plane to fly right.
Well. Birds just fly and do it right. No metal detectors needed there. No shoe removal or fees for baggage.
I still remember the poem from the first grade, something like:
Little Robin Redbreast,
Hopped upon my seal,
He asked me for a crumpet
and something something meal, oh well, almost remembered it.

and I think that I shall ever see a -----as lovely as a tree. Oh well. That is 2 strikes out.

The hawk was incredible sitting on the tower.
And I remember the owl surprising me on the line watching me as I left my shop one night recently. And for several years, until last year, I had a crow who would come to my back door and we would squawk at each other repeatedly. I don't see him anymore. I heard there was a disease killing them a couple years ago. Where did he go?

And my wonderful poet friend, Jeff Danial Marion, in Tennessee wrote a wonderful children's book called Hello Crow about a crow who stole shiny objects in his childhood. A beautiful book and a wonderful story.

And finally, when my son was about 5, I had him by the hand and we were heading quickly to the car for him to rush to school and me to rush to work. As usual, we were running on the edge of time and he was dragging his feet. He looked up at me and said, "Hey Mom, did you notice the birds on the line?" I stopped looked at the birds and realized we can learn a lot from our children. Slow down and enjoy the birds.

Tomorrow I will look for my friend the hawk again and try to think of more bird stories from years gone by.

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