“I’m not out here to win a beauty contest.”~Kirk Gibson, American baseball player
Perhaps Mr. Gibson is not, but I am working on beauty. My husband already says I’m beautiful, so I’ll go with him on that. Today I refer to my latest Zentangle, my contribution to the Diva’s Challenge 121. Just like every first Monday of the month, this week is UMT (Use My Tangle) week, and Birds on a Wire by Mary Kissel, CZT is featured.
I love birds. I grew up with parakeets, which was the only pet we were allowed in our second-floor apartment. Well, I guess we could have had a hamster or an iguana, but my parents had had parakeets growing up. I turned into my parents at the age of 7.
Scrapper: Parakeet Extraordinaire, 1977
My favorite parakeet was Scrapper. He lived with us the longest. Bright blue body and wings, the blueish color of the cere, which is the skin above the beak that looks like a nose. He was my parakeet, no matter who fed him or gave him water or cleaned his cage. He imprinted on me. He knew when I was due home from school. Mom would see him fly over to the living room window, the one that looked out on the street, and he chirped and chirped until I got off the yellow school bus.I would walk up the stairs and he would fly to my shoulder and nip my cheek or tussle chew my long brown hair. Yes, we let our parakeets fly loose in the house. Yes, that made cleanup challenging, but the thought of having our birds’ wings clipped gave each of us a stomache.
Much like a puppy, he would follow me around, either on my shoulder or just flitting to the table when I did my homework. When I was sick, he would sit on the top of his cage, staring down at me as I lay comatose or coughing on the couch. Occasionally he would land on the couch or my head, nibble my lip or just stare at me, and they he would fly back to the top of his cage, waiting and watching.
He won Best of Show contests at our local Humane Society pet shows. He did tricks, like roll a ball across the dining room table. He talked; I forget now exactly what he said, but I recall “hello” and “pretty bird” among them.
He developed a tumor on his chest, a big red blob of tough skin where no feathers grew. The vet said there was no cure; I wonder now if it was a form of cancer. Somedays I could not look at him he was so disgusting and creepy, but I forced myself to because he had always looked at me when I was sick. Apparently he died in the night, before I awoke, almost as if planned so I did not see that. Mom collected him, we wrapped him in white tissues and ceremoniously buried him in the front yard beside the bushes.
Scrapper was not our last parakeet, but none were as personable and clingy as he was. To this day, I cannot pass a pet store without looking at the parakeets, hearing their cheeps, watching their scrubbly little claws as they hop around on wooden dowels.
I have no fear of birds; I delight in them. I don’t care much for the poop, but such is life. When I see parrots or cockatoos on the shoulders of someone else–yes, there are some people who carry them around in Plymouth’s Kellogg Park, just like any dog–I always hope they are friendly enough to perch on a stranger’s finger or hand. I imagine Scrapper, or at least having a bird in my life. When this week’s tangle was Birds on a Wire, I was so happy. I, too, have seen streams of birds stretching on high wires, sometimes launching off and flying away in a black cloud. I imagine Mary’s sight and how she developed this tangle. My first time using it was not my best creation, although I do see some wired birds there and some swans. Ahh is such an underused tangle, but I felt the need to add sunshine sparkles and clouds and wires for the birds to fly to, hence my choice of tangles. The tangle, and the memories, bring happiness today.