Goldfinch prayer and The Underworld by Sharon Bryan

A little while ago, I posted a bird drawing for my aunt, who was in a horseback riding accident.  In that accident, she broke her neck and three ribs.

Rose breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus)

Rose breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) that I drew to cheer her up

When the doctors x-rayed her broken ribs, they found a lesion on her lung.  After a biopsy, we have just learned that it is cancerous.

IMG_7375I went to see my aunt after Christmas.  I had to drive nine hours to see her, but it was worth it.  We went for a little walk; she was still in her neck brace.  We talked about chestnuts and wetland restoration.  We chatted about birds.

IMG_7361Somehow, we never got around to talking about her cancer.

IMG_7362I love my aunt very much.  She was the one who taught me how to ride a horse and the one who showed me how to love birds.  I didn’t want to leave that day.  As I drove away, all I could think was that I should go back.

IMG_7369But what could I do?  I couldn’t just stay.

IMG_7370I think we are all hoping right now that the accident was a blessing which allowed the doctors to find her cancer in an early enough stage that they could get rid of it forever.  We are all hoping for a miracle.

IMG_7372So I sent this goldfinch to carry my prayer on his wings.  There is nothing more I can do.

IMG_7378The Underworld

When I lived in the foothills
birds flocked to the feeder:

house finches, goldfinches,
skyblue lazuli buntings,

impeccably dressed chickadees,
sparrows in work clothes, even

hummingbirds fastforwarding
through the trees. Some of them

disappeared after a week, headed
north, I thought, with the sun.

But the first cool day
they were back, then gone,

then back, more reliable
than weathermen, and I realized

they hadn’t gone north at all,
but up the mountain, as invisible

to me as if they had flown
a thousand miles, yet in reality

just out of sight, out of reach—
maybe at the end of our lives

the world lifts that slightly
away from us, and returns once

or twice to see if we’ve refilled
the feeder, if we still remember it,

or if we’ve taken leave
of our senses altogether.

– Sharon Bryan


6 thoughts on “Goldfinch prayer and The Underworld by Sharon Bryan

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