Friday, April 10, 2009

thank you

I wanted to say thank you to all who have sent condolences via comments here and via private email. It means so much to me.

Yesterday was the first time in a year that my mom has been able to visit us here at November Hill. She came with my teenaged nephew, who is on spring break, and we had an entire day to just hang out.

We walked out to the front field so that she could meet Redford, who promptly darted into the thicket of trees and peeped out at the new friends, while Rafer Johnson had his nose in their pockets, but gently, as he is the best ambassador of donkeys there is.

In a minute, Redford decided it was just too hard to miss out on all the attention, so he walked over and stuck his nose into the action.

The horses all said hello, and the pony showed off his grazing muzzle, and even laid down and rolled, grazed with it from the prone position, and then got up and shook the pollen off his painted self.

It was a nice illustration for all of us of adaptation to new things, and how what starts out difficult can transform to being just fine.

I also wanted to pull a couple of things from the previous post's comments.

My anecdote from the weekend:

Sometime over the weekend I was standing at the kitchen window wondering how my dad is doing where he is now, and I thought "if you're doing okay, send me a sign via a bird in the backyard."

I waited for a few minutes and nothing happened, and I figured he was busy or else he just didn't like the parameters of my request! And I forgot about it.

Yesterday I was sitting here working on something and I kept hearing the most beautiful bird song that sounded like it was right inside the laundry room door. At first I thought it might be coming from upstairs and somehow was echoing oddly down here.

But it kept on, and I got up to go check it out. When I got to the laundry room door, I glimpsed a tiny gray and white and black finch, so tiny I couldn't believe it was making such vibrant birdsong.

I opened the door and stepped out onto the deck, and instead of flying away, the finch hopped onto the branch inches away from my face, and looking straight at me, burst into a 15-20 second song that was absolutely stunning.

The little bird looked like he was all decked out in a tiny suit: gray pants, white shirt, black jacket. And then it hit me: he looked like my father in the dashing outfits he wore when he was young. The moment I had that thought, the bird finished the song and literally darted off, in a streak of flight that seemed to begin on the branch and then just disappear into thin air.

It really made me smile.

And Maddy's comment and poem, which I found so moving:

Your words, beautifully written, of your dad's passing reminded me of this little poem by Kahil Gibran.

I have passed the mountain peak
and my soul is soaring in the firmament
of complete and unbounded
I am in comfort,
I am in peace.


Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm so glad to hear that your mom was able to visit November Hill. Some funny spring antics supplied by all the critters had to make her and everyone feel just a little better in this time of renewal.
On another note, I do think your dad came to visit in the form of that song bird to let you know he is alright where he is now and happy enough to sing out about it.

billie said...

It was a nice visit, Arlene, and I agree with you about the bird.

Louis St.Lewis said...

Miss B, I was thinking about you all day yesterday for the first time in many moons,,,now I know why. I'm sorry to hear of your loss.

Anonymous said...

I never know what will comfort someone at a time like this, so I let poetry say it for me:

Let this hill rest . . .
Let the roots crawl into this failing earth,
Let the leaf fall, let day descend
On untilled slopes. Let the oak’s girth
Strain and increase, vine drown the rock
And paling blossoms flow in creeping wind.
Let my heart rest this purple hour

With slow wandering in dull passages of breath,

In unwoven air, in sleep withdrawn from death,

And voiceless span the mountain’s crumbling tower.

Let me lie here unstirred, unwaked and still,

Let my heart lean against this fallow hill.

be well, be strong, know you were loved.


Victoria Cummings said...

Billie- Your experience with the bird reminded me of the Mary Oliver poem "The Summer Day" - here's a part of it:

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention,
how to fall down
into the grass,
how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed,
how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Thinking of you on this sunny Spring day -

billie said...

Louis, thank you - I know you know what this goodbye was like, and I'm happy you got in touch.

billie said...

Kim, what a beautiful poem. Thank you.

billie said...

And Victoria, thank you too, for the lovely poem and thoughts.

Michelle said...

What a beautiful story. I have no doubt that bird was sent by your Dad, to let you know that he is doing just fine.

daringtowrite said...

Billie, I'm so sorry for your loss of you father. I hope he continues to send you such wonderful signs. What a lovely memory to add to your collection of him.

billie said...

Thanks, Michelle. I keep watching for more signs. I'm eager to see what happens.

billie said...

Thank you, Wenda. I hope so too!!

jme said...

oh billie, i have been away for too long and missed so much. i am sorry for you loss, but perhaps 'loss' is an imprecise word, when so much of your father remains present in your lives. the story of the finch gave me chills. i'm glad to hear everyone at november hill is well and... adapting. hope you are enjoying these early days of spring and have the sun on your faces today :-) [ big hug ]

billie said...

Thanks, jme... we have had two bands of thunderstorms today, but mild ones, and the sun is now shining again. :)