Birdwatching with the dead – A father’s day instagram post

Since your death our conversations have gotten better. You ask about the birds we have here on the island. Your garden, like your mothers, was filled with bird feeders. You kept a notebook of the seed you used, the species you saw. You listen with interest as I tell you stories about the ravens and swallows we see all the time and the songbirds that seem to pass through just for a day or two, flashes of yellow and orange seen through trees. That could be a Tennessee Warbler, you say. Or maybe a goldfinch? In the guidebook I read about the many kinds of nests, some loose, others tight as houses. Even in the bird world there are many styles of parenting. When you were alive I didn’t know how to tell stories you wanted to listen to or how to be a good daughter. I thought I was a good daughter, better possibly than you deserved, and I waited for you to say so. Worse things have happened to better people you said to me once. I was about eleven and I remember the feeling of hurt as I parsed it out in my head. Were you saying that I was not a good person, or that this childish thing I was mad about was not important? But maybe because I loved you, or maybe because I knew you, I could see you didn’t only mean me. You meant yourself too, you meant everybody really. The absurdity of humans was never too far from your mind. You meant: put it in perspective. Put it in perspective. Now we talk about birds. We talk about how the secret to being happy is sometimes just letting it in. Letting all these little things: music and gardens and dogs and books and booze and the many pleasures of loving someone for a long time, be enough. How happiness is a common sparrow that will eat anything you feed it and whose frailty can still break your heart. #fathersday #deaddads #birdwatching #cnf #tinytruth

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