A fleeting moment and random five.

June 7, 2013

This morning my favorite Blue Ridge Gal reminded me that over at Nancy’s Rural Journal it’s time for a random five post and I’ve been thinking about the WordPress weekly photo challenge which is “fleeting”.

So I give you three dead Cedar Waxwings and say to you, “Life is fleeting. One minute you’re flying along and the next you hit a great, big window.”

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The huge wall of double story windows have claimed their fair share of birds over the years…including a Canada goose who broke the glass. I do feel really bad about this though, but I guess it’s all fair. I mean, the poor little bodies do provide food for the other creatures and, in the wild, not much goes to waste.

The random things I’d like to tell you are:

1. I love the work of Robert Bateman. Love it, love it to pieces. Each time I find a dead bird I want to freeze it like he does and take it out frozen, pose it and use it as a model for painting. He talks about the sad little creatures which, after seven or so thaws and freezes, really do have to be discarded. Guess I’d learn to work really fast.

2. I only heard a single thud against the window and I guess the whole little flock flew into it at almost the same time. When little tragedies happen I go into complete shock and disbelief each time. That sort of unacceptance even though I know in my heart it’s the situation. Wish I had a time machine. True enough.

3. I held the birds in turn, feeling their warmth, feeling their softness. I felt all teary. Couldn’t put them down. They are so unbelievable soft and real and felt so…alive. I always have this need to remember, to feel, to take in everything, not to leave out any sensory detail. Is that my artistic soul? Or is it what everyone does? Couldn’t stop photographing them. Is that morbid?

4. I questioned whether or not I should have the little flock stuffed. I’ve had a pheasant, a seagull and a kamikaze quail, who ran into my car wheel, stuffed. But then I remembered the incredible hassle of trying to get a permit for the gull – a migratory bird – to have him stuffed, and also remembered that I don’t have electricity at the cabin and cannot freeze their little bodies and so gave up on that idea.

5. I walked around the cabin trying to find the perfect place to bury them. The real story is I couldn’t bring myself to put three such exquisite creatures into the ground. If you must know, I still have my late aunt’s ashes in my home. My grandmother kept grandfather’s ashes in her china cabinet until her death, and then I interned them both in the family crypt in Prague. I hate having them there. I wish I had them here with me. For the past several years I’ve said I must take Aunt Vera to the alpines and sprinkle her ashes there, but having her here gives me some strange comfort and, even though I hike into alpines each September, I’ve never brought her ashes with me. Maybe this year.

Whew, this is what comes from taking photos.

C calls them "selfies"

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33 Comments

  • Reply lynn June 7, 2013 at 8:35 am

    I once lived in.Victoria.B.C. had a friend who bought anything he could of R.B., I had prints. I once sat near RB on a ferry to Salt Spring, I couldn’t take my eyes off of his hands. I pick up crush creatures from the road side to bury, or from the garden who have met untimely deaths, they are so vulnerable and I feel they are so alone. Makes me sad. Lovely post.

    • Reply Veronica June 7, 2013 at 9:13 am

      Oh Lynn, he’s so inspiring, isn’t he? I once took a course he taught years and years ago. I got so much valuable info from him and have been using that info ever since. Sad about all little creatures, isn’t it? I’m glad you give them rest. 🙂

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  • Reply vastlycurious.com June 7, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Great work! Yes life is fleeting!

    • Reply Veronica June 7, 2013 at 7:03 pm

      Too true Kathryn. 🙂

  • Reply sustainabilitea June 7, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Your picture is perfect for this prompt! We love Robert Bateman, too. We’ve had birds run into our windows as well as those huge bumblebees, but no deaths, thankfully.

    janet

    • Reply Veronica June 7, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      Hi Sustainabilitea. Bateman is fantastic, isn’t he? Aren’t those bumblebees ridiculous? It’s a wonder they don’t get concussions! 🙂

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  • Reply Nancy June 7, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    I wonder if some type of sticker would alert them to the window? Just wondering. Interesting post — I’ll have to look up Robert Bateman.

    • Reply Veronica June 7, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      Hi Nancy, the stickers don’t work, unfortunately. There’s so much dodging between the branches around the cabin that the stickers just look like more branches. I feel so sorry for the poor little birds. Happily, the cabin faces west so the sun reflects off those windows for a large part of the day somewhat nullifying the continuing forest effect, and wooden shutters cover most of the windows when we leave, so very few casualties when we are not there. 🙂 Thank you so much for hosting again this week. 🙂

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  • Reply Diane June 7, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Ashes to ashes they say. Whenever we lose a pet to death we seem to keep the ashes for years until we are ready to let them go and then spread them on whatever property we are living on. You just have to be completely ready to move on…. sometimes that time never comes.

    My husband served in the Air Force in VietNam and wants to be inurned in Washington D.C at Arlington National Cemetery…. I can be inurned there also, but he has to go first. If I die first he will have to keep my ashes so that our wishes can be met. Gruesome? No. Life and death just are what they are and it’s all inevitable. Just hope I don’t fly into a window as my last act in life.

    • Reply Veronica June 7, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      Hi Diane. Once I sat in on a speech given by the late, great Carol Shields, and she knew she had cancer and was possibly not going to live as long as she hoped she would, and she said something to the effect of: “I imagine life is like a flight in the night thru a cathedral. You come from darkness and then briefly you fly thru the most glorious place with stained glass windows flooding with brilliant light, sounds and sights and smells and then you fly out and into darkness once again. How much better is you have a companion who will fly thru it beside you.” I’ve never forgotten that. 🙂

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  • Reply Jim June 8, 2013 at 7:48 am

    🙂 I hate that too, Veronica!! ~~ I wouldn’t pick them up or handle them though. I do bury them using a shovel. I think it is terrible too for those people running around the highways with unsecured dogs in the backs of their pickups. Every state needs laws with harsh penalties that would prevent that. I see so many dogs killed on the roadways. I know some have fallen out.

    My beagle dog, Adie, was a therapy dog. We were a tested and registered pet therapy team.
    http://jimmiehov.blogspot.com/search?q=groundhog
    That to say that I still have Adie’s ashes here. She died last September.
    Thank you for your visit and nice comment.
    ..

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  • Reply gowestferal woman June 8, 2013 at 9:12 am

    ah, you have an artist’s soul – that is what it is. Your cedar waxwings will be replaced by others; your continuation of keeping loved ones close by is a continuation of what your grandmother did 🙂 . Life replaces death and vice versa…and its the most natural thing in the world

    lovely writings you have here!

  • Reply pattisj June 8, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Sad to see the waxwings. I like the idea of the huge windows, though they tend to reflect the sky. I have a large kitchen window, but pigeons are the only ones I’ve seen fly into it. One had to be taken to a wildlife rehabilitator, but no casualties.
    I’ve not heard of Robert Bateman, will have to Google.

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  • Reply abrianna June 8, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    They are very pretty birds. Hopefully no more of them will run into your windows.

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  • Reply daryledelstein June 10, 2013 at 5:54 am

    at first glance i thought how odd for those 3 to be lying there so close together .. and then i read your thoughts .. i too would have been upset and at the same time i would think the word would get out between all the other birds in the area: ‘avoid that house with the big glass window’ …

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