Thursday, December 4, 2008

Death and the house finch

I’m sorry to have been so negligent in updating my blog. Much has transpired since my last entry. First, and foremost, my father died unexpectedly on November 7. It was the most peaceful of deaths. Enviable really. He had been cutting bushes during the day, ate some blueberry tart, drank a bit of sherry as he watched his favorite Sherlock Holmes on TV, then fell asleep. He never woke up. My mom called me around 7:30 am to tell me she thought he was dead. I live only 2 miles from her house and zoomed down there. Sure enough, he was gone. Before me, she had called 911 and the EMTs were walking out of the house not even wanting to make eye contact. I ran upstairs to the bedroom. There he lay dead with a half smile on his face. He hadn’t even woken up to say “ouch.” He was two days shy of his 80th birthday. It was the perfect death. I wondered what he had been dreaming.

We were all devastated yet weirdly happy he could go like that. Much crying ensued though. He was the perfect father to me and the perfect husband to my mom and her soul mate. We both cried and were grateful.

A week to the day later I was talking to my friend Sibyl on the phone. As I did, I opened the front porch door to let out the latest stray kitten who had appeared at my place the month earlier. Not one minute later I heard knocking on the side window. The new stray kittens have learned to leap up onto the window and somehow claw their way down the door as a signal to be let in. It was about 8pm and pitch black and I was amazed how quickly the kitten had gotten around to the side door. And so, as I talked on the phone, I opened up that door. There was no kitten. There was a house finch. It flew into the dining room. Now, I must say, never has a bird knocked on my door to be let in. I was stunned. Here it was, a daytime bird, flinging itself against the door to be let in. Birds are symbols of spirit. Even the dourest of skeptics could see this was no normal bird. And so if flew on in and circled the dining room then flew upstairs into my bedroom. It was not my father. Of that I’m sure, the poor thing was too frantic, too freaked. It was however, I am convinced to the core, sent by him. It was a “token” as they call it in some parts. It was a sign, and a very clear one.

In any case, I followed it up to my bedroom and closed the door. The kittens were way too interested and I do think it rather bad juju for one’s kitten to kill one’s token. I opened the window and turned off the lights leaving a lit candle in the window. It landed on a ceiling fan and I caught it in a towel and released it into the night.

When this was all done, I was beside myself. One friend called, then I called another, then I called my mom who started crying at the tale. “He always wanted to see what you did with the kitchen,” she said (I had begun remodeling that recently and had torn down a wall). 40 minutes later my boyfriend David came in. I told him the story. He said how sorry he was that he couldn’t have seen the little bird then went upstairs to do one thing or another.

Not five minutes later he called to me. "Christina! I think it is back!"

I ran upstairs and sure enough the little house finch was flinging itself against my bedroom window to be let in again. I opened the window and it flew again into the room. From that room it flew to my office where my altar is and so landed upon it. It then flew and landed on my alien mask hanging on the wall then back to the altar then onto a box of stuff my father had given me that belonged to his father. I’ve been absorbed with genealogy lately and it all related to that. And so, the little house finch landed on the box and looked at me for quite some time. At last, once again, I caught it and set it free.

And the rest of the night, I smiled.