Thursday, 24 December 2015

Birds of a feather: A family gathering.

My family are far and wide, all over the globe now.  My eldest brother lives in Somerset and his two boys have settled in London and Halifax Nova Scotia.  My sister and her husband flit from the Isle of Man to Spain.  Their daughter is sharing a house with friends in the Midlands but her sons live fairly close to me. My own, grown-up children,  have stayed close to home, at least  for now.

Last year, we shared Christmas Day with my sister's brood, for the first time in many years.  Traditional lunch, with all the trimmings in an idyllic country cottage and then watching  Frozen with her Grandchildren. My nephew brought along his Husky puppy. Our Mum fell asleep by the roaring fire. It was a perfect day. One to remember and to treasure forever.

After I divorced, Christmas became a shared out event. The children usually spent Christmas Day with me and then a few days with their father's family.  I would work over what is now known as Twixmas.  It staved off the emptiness in my home and allowed me to save extra leave for days when they might be off school poorly. It was a practical solution. 

One year we had snow on Christmas Day: A rarity in Blackpool, noted for wet windy winters. There are a few trees in my garden; a tall sycamore, an old apple and a hawthorn that was still heavily laden with berries. As we were pulling our crackers, I saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker sitting in the apple tree. A most prestigious event.

We usually have a fine gathering of birds over the winter months; blue tits, great tits, chaffinches, robins and blackbirds, (I pile up all the windfall apples and they feast on them). I love to see groups of tiny long-tailed tits arrive.  They each weigh only half an once and roost together in a large fluffy ball to keep warm, tails hanging downwards. In really cold weather, birds of different species, (even usually territorial birds), will all huddle together in a warm,dry, south-facing nest box. The mere thought of such a convivial gathering makes me happy.

A Winter’s Tail

On a bright and bluish Boxing Day,
the house is quiet,
the children away.
I am sitting alone
in the peace and the calm,
my face to the window,
reflected warm. 
I gaze to the garden,
through frosted glass,
my thoughts drift off
and tears stream down
for time long lost,
for love that passed.

Then I stop to peer  
at a flash of light,
of green and yellow,
birds in flight,
with soft black caps and bold striped chest.
The acrobats are back to their nest.

Dashing and dancing
from limb to limb
of the apple tree,
with its mouldy trim.
Swinging from string on the coconut
to taste sweet suet and butternut.

Such delight to my wondering eyes appears,
it makes my smile reach to my ears. 
Have a wonderful Christmas everyone.  Thanks for reading.  Adele 


Lady Curt said...

Yes I know that feeling of emptiness....when I divorced we took it in turns...Both Christmas and New Year. The depth of loneliness was extreme, as I was used to the hustle and bustle of having a teenaged son. Suddenly ...nothing. I spent one Christmas Day with a colleague from work but somehow I felt awkward, and bless them they made me so welcome. So the alternate Christmas Day I helped out at the Salvation Army....this made me appreciate the present of presence ....the company...the smiles...the put my woes into perspective...and I never felt lonely to the same depth again .

Adele said...

Lovely comment Kath. Thank you.

Annie Walton said...

How beautiful Adele ! Trish is mad keen on photographing ( and feeding ) our birdies! We are travelling down to Jemma 's as I write and having just read this out to Trish she asks please can we put it on our website ? I hope you have had a happy time this year Adele .... Look forward to seeing you soon love Annie xxxxxx

Adele said...

I am flattered that you would want to share my writing with others. Yes do as you will lovely ladies.