Friday, June 3, 2011

The Bird's Advice

The Bird’s Advice

I suppose it is foolish to stand in this doorway.
After all, I have seen the photographs of nature’s recent fury, destruction hateful and horrible to behold. I can imagine the well-coiffed local weatherman in my mind’s eye, his scowl an indication of his extreme disappointment in the disregard I am paying to his warnings of late. “Stay inside, away from windows and doors”, I hear him chant, over and over again.
Meaning him no disrespect, I have chosen to take my advice from the birds who are, even now, flitting and frolicking in the face of a wind that whips through the garden like a toreador’s cape. Clearly unafraid, they ride on great gusts that are swelling and swirling down through the maples and up from the blue salvia beds, a whirlpool of wind that sounds like a major key symphony from nature herself.
A few fat raindrops hit the ground beneath the lamppost. Like fresh fallen eggs, they plop and they splatter, one here, one there, heralds of the legion soon to follow.
Then the storm takes a deep breath, a pause before the water falls white from the skies. The birds play in earnest now, robins splashing through puddles, crows dancing with needles blown free from the pines.
Suddenly, the wind finds me in my place at the door. It ruffles my collar and grabs hold of my hair. It brings me the fragrance of clean laundry, of beach sand, of cedar. Thirsty for its wildness, I close my eyes and drink it in.
It occurs to me then, I am just like my father. He who never heeded the bad weather warnings, making his way instead, in haste, to the nearest open window, the closest way outside, to stand awestruck in the face of a storm. Did he, like his daughter, sometimes long to shed the quotidian cloak of domesticity and become one with the unanswerable freedom flying fast past his door?
Did he occasionally take advice from the birds?

painting above: Arthur Rackham


  1. What n evocative piece of writing. I am one with your father, his daughter and the birds, always rushing to the opening were home dissolves into the natural world, it's terrors, and it's wonders.

  2. I love to be out in all weathers apart from lightning storms - a too close encounter many years ago has made me very wary of these! It's wonderful to see the birds in high winds when they ride it like a roller coaster obviously revelling in the experience,crows are the birds I usually see doing this so Arthur Rackham's painting is very apt.

  3. beautiful writing, for a moment i was sitting on my porch watching the trees gather the storm in their branches - a little afraid, lost for a moment in the power of nature.

  4. I feel like I can close my eyes and jump right into this storm. When I was a little girl I used to love to walk in the rain. I had completely forgotten about that until I read this. Thank you so much!!!!! Beautiful!!!!

  5. There is something so very awesome about a real storm isn't there? To stand in the doorway I suppose is a half way house. We used as children to watch heavy rain drops falling on the road outside - we called them dancing fairies.

  6. We have storms in South Louisiana that are beyond what Hollywood would create. As long as I know birds haven't taken flight from the storm, I know, this, too, shall pass. There's something special about the fat sound of raindrops.

    Beautiful, absolutely beautiful writing. Thank you!

  7. This lovely post reminded me how I'm fascinated with staring straight into a storm and studying it's mystery and power. When we had hurricane Ike a few years ago, I stay awake all night just watching out the window, while the husband slept like a baby. Wise laying by a plate glass window, not likely, but I couldn't take my eyes off of it. A wonderful post yet again Pamela.
    Cheers x Deb

  8. I knew that was an Arthur Rackham - such a fine illustrator. He knew where the wild things lived, life through the looking glass.

    I love your description of standing there, defiant of warnings and and delighted by weather. From what you have said of your lovely father, I am sure he took advice from birds. I'm going to listen to what they have to say from now on, too. :)

  9. A beautiful piece of writing. You took us to that moment when you faced the forces of nature and for a moment wondered what it would be like to be one of nature's wild creatures whirling around within the storm. Beautiful and haunting.

  10. You've exactly captured my excitement over fierce summer thunderstorms when I had a front-row seat on our front porch swing!!! Love, love, loved to be in awe of nature, never expecting to die from some have.

  11. Boy, do you roll thos words of your toung, you are a great writer. I too have had insane weather, now my yard work is so far gone, I'll never catch up. Enjoy what ever beautiful days we get..
    hope this goes through, Google is crazy, I can't do comments.

  12. I too stepped through the door on to the front porch during a raging thunderstorm last week. Then, seated in a wicker chair, I let the rain wash my face and dampen my hair, it felt wonderful after working all day in the garden.

    The birds flew off but returned in the calm, eating at the feeders and splashing in the refilled birdbaths. If only Nature could learn how to temper her temper!!!!!

  13. Wonderful storm description! I can almost hear the wind howling. I always think of my mother and my first dog during bad thunderstorms. My mother loves them but my first dog used to hide behind the toilet. Animals always seem to sense storms before we do. We've been having hail in Maine but it missed my town luckily. Like my mom, though, I enjoy storm watching.

  14. And I remember, so long ago, I would, intentionally, go camping, in a tent, to the Outer Banks, NC in hurricane season. How fabulous an experience, to be in the midst of the storm, in nature's powerful grip.
    Bless God, He kept a silly girl safe.

  15. The beauty...and power...and fierceness of a storm is beguiling to me also, I must admit. During hurricanes I would run outside...just to feel the sheer strength.

    Godspeed to the recent survivor's.

  16. I had a window seat in my dining room in my mountain house, where I would perch to watch lightning--in every way shape and form, over the years. I fell asleep there, watching a grand storm of hail and lightning, rip through the sky. Dozing, I heard the freight train of the tornado, and fell into the comfort of sleeping with the sound of nearby trains from my suburban childhood. I awoke when my house shuddered to a halt with power outage. I had a baby asleep in my bed, and was waiting for my girls to come home. I put out great buckets of candles leading to my house so they could find their way in the blackness. We were lucky. I cannot imagine the devastation that has taken place all around us this Spring. I remember fear, replaced by hope and action--then waiting. Then again, there are bombs and that is a different story. Between weather and politics, the girls' world shakes. Smokey subways in London, their windows blown out on 911, still make me say: "Boom is bomb." They are always surprised. Now it is weather. The advise that I keep giving, is to take shelter from the storm.

  17. Ah yes, those very wise birds, a faithful follower am I. My family thinks I am building a shrine to them inside and out. Birds and trees...I am drawn. I think your father had the right idea. Yes, you truly are your father's daughter Pamela. As for me, as a child, the first gust and I would head to the sea. The beach was always the best place to be...for .me.

    As always Pamela, a great post. I loved the memories.. yours and mine. :)

    Jeanne xx

  18. your words completely captivate me! And I take my cues from the fluffy little fellows as well!

  19. Beautiful imagery in your words. I so enjoy your writing!

    ~ Violet

  20. My dad always tells the weather by the birds too xx


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