I’d already been thinking about it. Letting a single word come to the fore. After reading Strange Piece of Paradise. In which a woman goes to investigate her attempted murder. By axle and axe. In a tent. Many years before. And she starts to notice. The word ax. Or axe. And images of axes. Everywhere.
Then I was reading the blog. Of the illustrious Nancy Dancehall.
And she said:
Your assignment, if you chose to accept it, is to pay close attention to birds for the next week. Watch them in nature, of course. But also watch for them to turn up in songs, in images, in dreams even.So I started to watch for birds. There are all the usual yard birds. Purple finches. And chickadees. And sparrows by the score. Sitting on the power lines. Swooping to the feeders. One of my corgi’s primary activities is herding. Birds. Out of the tree and back again.
A purple finch with a red head lands outside my office window. When I lived in Ecuador, seeing a red bird meant good luck. So I smiled. And took it as a good omen. From a bird messenger.
I notice books on my shelf - Blackbird House, The Hummingbird’s Daughter. And small birds painted on the back of a fan of a Japanese ceramic in my back yard. Do I flit or do I soar? Do I chirp or do I sing?
Mine are the birds of northern climes. Not the bright birds of the tropics.
And I remember. The birds of Africa. Birds come to the feeder in Kenya in a blaze of primary color. Blue. Yellow. Red. African gray parrots and crowned cranes grace the hotel on the shores of Lake Kivu in Rwanda. Uganda. Ethiopia. Cameroon. Madagascar. Birds without geopolitical boundaries. Birds without. Free birds.