I would like to introduce this bird to you. And the woman that she reminds me of.
She was born last year, no tail. She also remained smaller than her brothers and sisters that hipped around. Finally in the fall she grew tail feathers: one brown and one white.
Also she is not shy to people passing her on the little gravel road next to our garden; she will check you out when you enter our garden. Today she has chosen our garden to make her first nest, in the honeysuckle right in front of my door. This is a treat and one close to heart.
Until two years ago across the street I befriended an elderly couple. She was Elie (89) and he was Willem (91). They still lived in their own house and they were doing all they could to make it beautiful and keep it that way. My husband and I were more than welcome and we talked about so many things with them. We got a lesson in unconditional love. Just to be able to sit and enjoy each others company. What a treat that was for us at the time. They could have been my grandparents but age did not matter. We talked about love, life, sex, death, religion and what not.
These people were fond of each other and she loved her garden and the blackbirds in it. More about Willem later, this is about Elie. One special male blackbird she called Piet, a nice looking older bird. Very black and very present. He was waiting for her in the morning when she ate breakfast in her chair. He even would hit the window with his beak if she did not notice him, can you believe that? When she opened the back door he was waiting for his morning treat: the crumbs of bread. He and his lady bird nested every year and Elie had her Piet for years. The birds might have died in between and swapped places though.
I wondered where Piet went when Elie died in March 2005. Never saw him or recognized him again. And now this sweet little female is nesting with us. And when I take a picture of the tree she has chosen to nest I suddenly notice the chimney of Elie’s house.
This bird makes me think of her. Sweet memories come back. I am looking forward to this nesting. Tonight I will raise my glass to dear Elie and say something like: “Cheers Elie, wherever you are, I would like to let you know that we have a blackbird in the garden. A special one. Could you suggest a name for her?”
Did I really hear her suggest Elie?