Treasured memories sustain me and my sweet story to follow is filled with metaphors. Camellia flowers remind me of my beautiful blossoming daughter. The life cycle of hummingbirds are touching, as I watch my three children spread their wings and fly. It is simply a joy to share my heart musings, imagery and songs.
The lyric line for my blog title came from my song “Alabaster Seashell.” I have been working steadily on creating solo piano meditations for many of my songs. Below is a recent track that will be part of a new medley on Insight Timer.
More about “Alabaster Seashell” is at this link: ALABASTER SEASHELL
As I’ve gotten older I’ve observed the passage of time has sped up. Like getting closer to finishing a roll of toilet paper, the remainder seems to unwrap faster and faster. When a week goes by it feels like only a day.
I anticipated my daughter’s visit for several months, but now it’s a blur that already happened. She left two weeks ago and here I am wondering how it flew by so quickly.
Emotionally, I am filled with hopefulness about the future. Recent hugs with vaccinated friends is a blanket of love that wraps around my heart. I was surprised that I could live without hugs for so long.
I’ve noticed that even the smallest things can infuse joy into my life. The tiny hummingbird nest on my patio has been such a gift.
Every day, I look out of my dining room window at the lovely camellia bush my mother planted when I was a baby. Because I live in the same home where I grew up, I am surrounded by childhood memories.
My mother was always so proud of her camellias. Once it was a tiny bush, but now it bordered upon being a tree. Even though it was neglected for years, somehow it managed to survive.
The pandemic threatened to crush creativity in my life, but somehow tidbits of inspiration peeked through. Last summer, I rediscovered my love for art by painting simply for the fun of it. Even my most tedious paintings were satisfying.
Each time I began something new, I was excited about what it would become. And when I finished and cut the paper off my watercolor board, I relished the feeling of completion.
I was never really sure what my next painting might be, but I always had ideas swirling in my mind. It was springtime during the Pandemic when I decided the camellias would become my next subject. Those first buds and vivid pink blooms were magnificent.
I was immersed in my painting for several weeks. It was during that time when I was finally ready to get a haircut. The isolation was wearing on me and I decided to take a chance. Lightening my heavy hair would definitely give me a lift.
My stylist and I wore masks as she trimmed my wild hair on the patio. Almost immediately, she noticed the beautiful camellias. I told her I would show her my painting in progress when she was finished.
But then, her sharp eyes noticed something. “Judy! There’s a tiny bird’s nest on that branch.”
She pointed. I stood up and we both walked closer. The nest was unmistakable and two tiny beaks were pointing skyward.
For several weeks after that I watched the birds grow. Then one day they were gone.
Every so often I looked inside the empty nest. My heart jumped with joy when a week later I saw two tiny eggs inside. The cycle was beginning again!
Now a large hummingbird mom was sitting on the eggs throughout the day. Her eyes darted at me whenever I stepped into the yard. I was careful to stay away and worried whenever it was windy. I prayed the nest and eggs wouldn’t be dislodged.
Weeks later, two tiny beaks were once again visible. I saw them being fed by their mother and it was beautiful. Watching was a connection to motherhood, as well as to memories of my own mother.
I was delighted when I finally finished my camellia painting. I knew my mom would have loved it.
I have three adult children and my youngest son lives with me. Last September, my 27-year-old daughter moved across the country, from California to Minnesota.
I missed her and tried to cope with the uncertainty of our length of separation. She was incredibly homesick, living far away from friends and family in a frozen area. It was a frigid season she’d never experienced. We spoke and texted often.
My child bemoaned that winter would never end. For her, time moved slowly. Eventually she bought a plane ticket, and we both couldn’t believe she would be visiting me. Though it was months away, time rapidly zipped toward the date for me.
I told her about the baby hummingbirds. Each day they were getting bigger and I hoped she would get to see them. The day before her arrival, one of the birds stood up and began flapping its wings. The next morning, it was gone.
Her flight was scheduled to land in the late afternoon. The traffic on the way to the airport was terrible, but listening to my newest meditation music kept me calm. I did wonder how I would find her when I finally pulled up to her terminal. But suddenly, there she was standing at the curb. She jumped into my car and we quickly hugged. I was overwhelmed with joy.
Afterwards, we dined at an outdoor restaurant near the beach; it was one of my first meals out in over a year. I was in heaven and this was definitely a treasured memory. There was so much to catch up on and yet we didn’t have to say much at all.
We came back to my place and she began to unpack. In the twilight, I pointed out the hummingbird nest through the dining room window. We both tiptoed outside, hoping for her to see the baby bird.
I was elated; it was still there! The tiny hummingbird was flapping its wings to practice. It was getting ready to start a new life of freedom. Would it still be there the next morning?
After breakfast, my daughter and I were treated to unforgettable entertainment as the baby bird practiced flying.
It squeaked as it flew to another branch. Then it rested and flew back to a branch closer to the nest. Suddenly, the mother appeared. She landed right next to her baby and inserted her elongated beak into its mouth. Learning to fly required sustenance! My daughter and I were enthralled.
A few hours later, the mother bird and her baby were gone. Once again, the nest was empty.
I realized the cycle of life was infused within that camellia bush. I wished my mother could have known how special her bush still was. I smiled as I imagined her watching from above.
My daughter’s visit flew by. One moment we were waiting for a date on our calendars, and then in an instant – she was here and gone.
There were lovely memories and emotional moments. There were tears of joy, tears of frustration, and tears of acceptance. Our weekly visits ended when she left California last fall. Our new reality was that we would be separated by distance, but not in our hearts.
She left the day after Mother’s Day. Originally, she was going to leave a few days earlier but she extended her stay to be there with me for that holiday. I was grateful.
It was still dark when I dropped her off at the airport shuttle bus station. One last hug and then it was over until our next adventure. I felt a little sad, but I was also looking forward to falling back into my familiar routine.
My apartment was quiet when I came in. The early morning sunlight streamed through my patio window casting a golden glow. I found myself drawn to step outside.
I perched upon a step stool so I could better peek into the hummingbird nest. Slowly, a smile spread across my face and my heart danced.
There were two tiny eggs inside.