You’re not going to believe this. I can barely myself!
When I was a little girl I went on a forest adventure with a bunch of children and a guide. We kept hearing this elaborate bird song that sputtered and flowed and chirped in a manner of seconds. The guide told us that it was the call of the Winter Wren. It was rarely seen because it was so stealthily hidden in the thickets with its spotted tail feathers and brown wings. But it had 200 notes in its distinct song, so you could always hear it heralding through the wood. As a child I was completely enraptured. I came home to tell my dad who is also an avid birder and I remember being proud when he said, “You taught me something I didn’t know!” Ever since I have kept my ears open and my eyes pealed in a quest-like hunt to find one.
A couple of months ago I drew a bunch of birds and their eggs and made a website to sell them. They were all birds I had seen in the woods around here and in my back yard. It was called Bird In Hand. And like the blocked artist I was I thought, This is stupid. I am silly. No one will like this. And even when an acquaintance wrote to me and said that her shop would like to FEATURE my birds in an art walk and have me come and sell them there I thought, I am too busy. I probably won’t sell any. Everyone will know I am a fraud. (Granted, I was very pregnant and nauseated, but still.)
And during that time I had a dream that I had a baby named wren. And I even saw a green bird at my window that I imagined was a wren. But I was never very sure. And then I made myself a dress that looked like a winter wren. And I blogged about all this and made a collage of me and that illusive bird.
The one bird in my bird series that I so far had never seen.
Then recently I started reading The Artist’s Way. And my art and my voice was suddenly and surprisingly unblocked. And the fear began to disappear. I started in on my unfinished Flora book (remember that little Tale? Flora Honeydew?) and I started painting without abandon. And I started selling a few prints again. And was asked to join a writers group. And then I was recommended the book Bird by Bird, in which it is suggested that we take our artistic work one bird at a time. Not to worry about the whole shebang, just plug away bit by bit. And instead of silly and stupid I started telling myself I am delightful and clever.
And do you know what I saw in my rose bush outside my kitchen window yesterday?
A winter wren.
And not just hiding and being discreet. Taunting me and hopping and twirping at the window. “hello, hello, hello hello!” he said. “One bird complete!” I didn’t have to search so hard. When I started diligently and slowly doing the work, believing I was capable, and opening my heart…
He came to me.
And when I went to my very first writing group meeting, and the ice breaker question was “What kind of bird would you be?” I knew exactly what to say.
The bird who may hide and worry about being seen, but has a very big song to complete.