"ignore the story. see the soul. remember to love. you will never regret it" --- Seane Corn

"ignore the story. see the soul. remember to love. you will never regret it" --- Seane Corn
it's a jungle out there

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Are You My Mother?

One of the few things my mom inadvertently taught me was to see the magic in nature. This mom of mine wasn't big on interaction. She kinda just did her thing, providing the necessities for five kids, going through her days depressed and overwhelmed. She rarely smiled. She was not affectionate. She did not engage us not even a how was school today? She was not very good at protecting us from the day to day hurts of a child's life, nor helping us recover from those hurts. She was not a haven. So any sort of mommy-esque attention left an indelible impression. 

I remember in winter she would sprinkle birdseed on the stone wall, and point out the blue jays, cardinals, and starlings that gathered. In spring she would show us birds nesting in the azaleas or the Japanese maple in our front yard. I remember if I  couldn't   quite   see  she might hold my face in her hands and point my sights in the right direction. If she was feeling extra comfy in her own skin, she might even put her cheek against mine, allowing us to share the vision. So memorable, these rare slices of intimacy and physical contact. And in my mind, it was her connection with nature that moved her past her own discomfort and disconnect to a place where she could have a special moment with her child.

In the past few days, I've noticed a pair of birds flitting around the ferns I moved out to the porch last week. It kind of occurred to me that they were weirdly close to the house, almost as if they were scoping out real estate.

This is the male. Small, sparrow-like with a red head and shoulders.

This is the female, perched on the edge of the fern

It's a lovely spot. I enjoy it. But from a bird's eye view, seems kind of too close to humans for comfort

So Ty & Mia come running in after school mommy look there was a nest yesterday and now there are eggs mommy come look come look at the eggs

Lo and behold...

Two larger pale blue eggs with brown speckles. Four small light blue eggs. I think maybe the bigger eggs were abandoned, left by an abandoning mama birdie squatter. 

I think about the birds, and I think about my mom, and I think about my kids. I have tried to not be an abandoning mama birdie squatter. I do the things that were for some reason so hard for my mom to do. I smile at them, I laugh at them, I kiss them on their heads. I tell them good job. I listen to them. I tell them I love them.  I sit on them to keep them warm so they can hatch and fly away when the time is right. 

I say leave the nest alone go out the back door so you don't scare her... she needs to sit on her eggs or they won't hatch. I want to protect the mama's ability to care for her eggs. I feel for the mama bird. She's just a bird, doing what she's hardwired to do, but I anthropomorphize her instincts. Because tied up in the bird nest is the rare memory of my mother laying her cheek against mine, and whispering in my ear look, right between those branches... do you see the nest?  


  1. i just broke out in goosebumps...

  2. See- I don't remember my mama touching me at all, although I know she must have. But I remember the cardinals making their nest right outside our kitchen window. She was so happy about that. She still talks about it, forty years later. "Do you remember...?"
    Why was it so hard for our mamas to touch us and so hard for us not to touch our babies every minute of every day and cradle them up to us at night?
    What happened?

  3. meesh...

    she must have done SOMETHING right, because here we are loving our babies up like nobody's business.

    p.s. i think a cotton swab inside ms. moon's cheek might have her being a second cousin once removed...

  4. p.s. really nice prose and pics.

  5. It's funny. I honestly think I dreamed of you and your sister (are you really sisters?) a few months ago. The dreams were so vivid I told a friend about them.
    Could we be related?
    Well, of course. We all are if you go back far enough.

  6. Thank you for stopping by MY blog today; and since I don't know you yet weel enough to know if I can swear on your blog, may I just say that already I am hooked because your words kick some serious effing butt?

  7. Ms. Moon: Adrienne and I ARE sisters. She sent me the link to your chicken condo...I told her your posts reminded me of our Granny's letters (although much more funny and well written) (and you're not old enough to be our Granny)...I dunno...think we're feeling a connection...maybe you dreamed us right into your world...not at all a bad place to be...quite lovely in fact

    Kori: you are more than welcome to swear away in your comments...I have quite a potty mouth myself. Thanks for the compliment

  8. I've found my way to you (and to your sister!) via Laura and Piece of Cake. And todays post made me all teary. Not because I was saddened that your mama wasn't an affectionate woman, but because I was touched by your ability to find the love in her simple gestures and acts of sharing, and see that things were hard for her, probably in ways you can never even know. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I called my sister Kathy telling her she HAD to read this.

    This touches me on so many levels...
    I fully relate to the mom you speak of
    and it is so interesting, as adults, to get that peak back into time
    the end of the block was just a place to play with chalk and ride bikes
    never knew what REALLY was going on behind closed doors
    or what WASN'T going on
    in both of our cases

    I have a thing for birds...
    almost bought a canary this week (too damn loud)
    that nest of yours is so beautiful
    and I am not speaking of the one in the tree

    thanks for opening your door and letting me peak inside!

  10. Came by way of Kori's recommendation; she picked a gem. It's nice to meet you :)

    I can relate to your post on one level, because my mom had nine kids, one alcoholic husband, and has never been comfortable with intimacy, though in all other respects, she is a wonderful mom. Thank you for sharing your story and your writing talent. Beautiful post.


so... wadaya think?

Your fairy is called Columbine Icedancer
She is a bone chilling bringer of justice for the vulnerable.
She lives in mushroom fields and quiet meadows.
She is only seen when the bees swarm and the crickets chirrup.
She wears lilac and purple like columbine flowers. She has icy blue butterfly wings.