…so we created an Art Department

At the beginning of every school year my favorite thing happens, my husband/high school math teacher brings home the questionnaires from his students. These are usually filled with ridiculous answers that completely crack me up. I know me and how I was as a high school student, I can just imagine what I would have said in a questionnaire from my math teacher.

This year, instead of a huge public school, he teaches at a smaller charter school for students  5th grade through 12th. Incredible difference in environments for sure. Total student population for his new school I’m guessing is around 30 instead of the1500- 2000 student populations like the average public schools out here.

I eagerly grab this year’s stack of questionnaires sitting on our table and start reading. The difference is immediate. These answers feel sincere, not hard or sarcastic. Not a cuss word in sight. The voices are coming through.

The question standing out to me the most: “If you could create a new class what would it be?”

For some it was exercise/sports, for some it was computer gaming, but for more than just a few it was art. The answers varied but it all came back to the arts. Drawing, painting, free form, calligraphy, woodshop, they wanted ART.

Their words rang through to my soul.

Art saved me growing up and in school. Having the fun combo of an over active creative mind living in an unstable home, a pencil and a pad of paper was my escape.

My art classes were why I had any motivation to go to school at all. That and socializing were the reason I stood at the bus stop and endured.

By senior year high school I risked life and limb by dropping an AP English class and ignoring the expensive books my middle-income family had purchased for the “over the summer mandatory reading list”. I still say it really wasn’t my fault. Upon arriving to the first day of school I saw no art class on my schedule. There was only one Advanced Art class offered that year and I sure as hell wasn’t going to AP English instead. Nope. Art meant that much to me that I was willing to face those consequences at home and did…oh yes… I did. Trust me my dad was not happy.

I keep reading through this year’s questionnaires. I know I can give you guys the art you want and more. If given the chance…

Ideas are now flooding my brain. How on earth can I explain what all I am capable of teaching or to even explain what I have in my mind? I have years of art back ground in the rattle box of a brain.

I literally raise my hand and wave it at my husband saying “Pick me! Pick me! I got this! I can do the Art!”

Now mind you, I am married to the half of my brain that seldom works. He is a Marine and a math teacher with his masters. I need to write down what I am thinking if I have any hope of making  any sense to him at all and not the noise the cartoon “Peanuts” adults make.

We can create an Art Department. I will volunteer. This cuts through tons of red tape. I write up the basics and offer it. He loves the idea. Let’s throw it by the boss. He loves the idea too.

The second week of school, Wednesday, early afternoon half asleep on the couch, I get a text “Can you be here in an hour to present your Art Department idea to the kids?”

Adrenaline kicks in and I race around gathering up my notepad and the props I had planned on using. Not only have I come up with the idea of a department but I also have a first project ready just to see who really wants this.

I planned on using the Bee poster I created for the museum. Its bright and colorful with my own close up photographs of  local bees surrounding information in the center. I will give the students the same Bee coloring sheet I give out during my Saturday museum animal talks and tell them they have a week to do whatever with whatever they want.

I’m surprised at how nervous I am. I drove trains for the PHX Zoo giving 20- minute unscripted tours. I talk all day on Saturdays at the Museum.  All I seem to do is talk. This is Art.  It’s exciting. There should be no problem at all.

But there I stand, shaking, voice quivering. I am a pro so I take a sip of water but it almost hurts my chest to swallow. I can’t slow my breathing. I’m sweating but that’s in part to it being over 100 degrees outside and me racing my things inside with little time to spare. I try sitting as I speak but it makes it worse. I openly tell the kids I am truly surprised at this but bear with me.

They do.

I make it through my presentation more than self- conscious, my teacher/husband has been watching the whole thing and I’m positive it was less than impressive. When I finish, one of the girls comes over to me and tells me not to worry about it, that all of them have issues and laughs.

I go home having no idea if they will do anything with these bee coloring sheets or if they even want my weirdo self being their Art Director.

I insist on going back to school the next day to see what room I will be using and to get a better feel and to relax. On Thursdays, more than half the students don’t attend so it’s a quiet, easier day for those who are there. The room I am given is big and bright and clean. Carpet feels new, bathroom is large and nice. The room has two working refrigerators and a microwave. There is a huge empty desk and plenty of long and round tables to use. I am told any art supplies in the building I am free to move on over.

It was Christmas.

Everywhere I turned were markers and pencils and chalk and scissors and glue stick and crayons in big pretty bins here and there hidden on shelves just waiting to be sorted through. I had landed in free art heaven! There was no need to purchase anything! Just gather it all up and go create!

The few students that were there saw my extreme joy and before you know it I had a table full of kids coloring sheets I had torn from one of my coloring books from home and a helper or two sorting through colored pencils and markers. I learn right away that some of my artists have special needs that may or may not have been identified or diagnosed. Some have and it’s apparent. I will have to take all of this in consideration when I am offering projects and deadlines. My brain goes into overdrive.

Week three I arrive early on Tuesday having no idea if any of the students returned the Bee picture like they were told.

9 of them did.

The envelopes are sitting on the table in a neat stack. I want to cry I am so happy. The art is above and beyond what I had expected.IMG_1310.PNG My plan can go on! I hang their art on the wall. I move tables blocking anyone from getting to close. I create a gallery for our opening.IMG_1309.PNG

I am given only a half hour once a week on Tuesdays for Art Department meetings. I am hell bent to fill it with as much diverse learning as I can offer.

It’s lunch time, in they come, unsure as to what I have done with their pictures, what I have planned in general. I haven’t shown them much except a huge dose of crazy from me at this point so I’m surprised any of them forgo free personal lunch time to hang out with me.

I have written “Respect” in huge letters on the massive white board with the definition underneath. I want them to understand I respect their art and what that means.

I take them to our very own gallery to discuss their art, then we head to round tables for our next projects and ideas.

I am so inspired by the kids and their efforts, I go home and write up a little article I think the local papers would use. I send pictures and the article for approval to the school and get blessing to move forward.

Week four. We have an even larger group for the lunch time meeting. We have multiple projects in the works. I give them a demonstration to inspire them for the Nutrition Art requested  for the school’s kitchen. They are given their next challenge for the week, a race car inspired contest, “The Fast and The Furious” and I head home exhausted.

Half-awake from my nap I see the mail sitting on the end of the couch and reach for the paper. It’s a long shot that I made the deadline, it’s hardly a week later, but it’s worth the look. It’s not my title but it’s in there.IMG_1357

There is no way you can convince me something that magical isn’t happening over there.

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…as if nothing ever happened

 

There is a patch of desert not too far from my home that, I am told, was the original site of Apacheland Movie Ranch. If I am to believe, this is where from 1960-2004, some 44 years, 29 movies, 17 television series and hundreds of commercials were filmed.

But there is nothing out there. Sure, there are trails used by hikers and dirt bikes but nothing else. Nothing that would tell you the self- proclaimed “Western Movie Capital of the World” was here for 40 years.img_4456

The first time I walked down Kings Ranch towards Apacheland it was lightly raining.

August in Arizona is hot. Random showers during monsoon season bring us relief. I had no problem wandering around in the drizzle to see what I could find. I had walked over alone. I didn’t bring the dogs because I wanted to take pictures. At that time, I thought for sure if there had been a full movie studio and buildings there would be something worth taking pictures of.

There really is nothing out there except for a rock fence that looks like it could have been some sort of corral.img_4418

When I approached this area, I felt this energy then immediately tears welled in my eyes. The only way I could describe it was it felt like someone saying “Finally! What took you so long?”

My reaction surprised me. Why tears? I didn’t feel scared or that I was surrounded by ghosts. I just felt like I belonged there and was wanted.IMG_4391.JPG

It bugged me enough to head over to the museum to see what I could learn.

I learned they needed volunteers and the requirements were easy to meet. I could show up for 3 to 4 hours every Saturday, help sell things in the General Store and watch Elvis pretend he’s a cowboy in Charro! Paid with tons of free reading and education.

Besides, where else was I going to learn about this lost era…for free?img_4272

Born in Las Vegas, raised in the high desert of California and even lived as a kid for a couple of years in BAKER “the gateway to Death Valley”, I can easily say I have desert running through my veins. I had never heard of Apacheland until moving to Gold Canyon Arizona.

A few months and a few hundred viewings of Charro! later, I am meeting people who worked at Apacheland and that can tell actual stories.

The blacksmith John that volunteers at the museum has fun stories. His mom was an extra on the set of Charro! when he was a kid so he was also hanging around the set. Tells me he tried to sit in Elvis’ chair!

The local newspaper The Independent has printed two full page articles about the Stamp Mill and the Train that I have written and photographed for the museum. The monthly Superstition Living printed both articles as well. With my Blog, Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram, I can share what I continue learning about this amazing area. I truly hope to be a part of preserving this little chapter in history.img_4250

Cholla

She pulls her hair straight back into a tight ponytail. Stuffs the loose ends into her dirty baseball cap then pulls her long ponytail out the back. Old ripped shirt and jeans. Heavy steel toe boots. She’s ready to work.

Her backyard is open desert. The mission this morning is to clear a deadly patch of Cholla. Jumping Cholla. Cactus known to leap off at unsuspecting passersby. Thorns so long and sharp they easily pierce through the heavy duty gloves she wears. Cactus dangerous enough that it needs to be controlled or removed.

She knows todays work is not going to be much fun but it has to be done or it will continue to grow into a nightmare maze of spikey jumping thorns. She grabs her tools and heads toward the back yard.

There is an obvious transition from the open and easy to walk through desert into the ominous thick patches of Jumping Cholla.

Her chest tightens as the fear sets in. This patch of cactus is not going down without a fight. She feels it.

She uses her heavy duty rake as a defense to enter into Cholla territory. Slowly she pushes back at the angry plants to see which parts willingly fall off and which parts are ready to leap out at her with frightening speed and force.

Spikey balls of pain fall all around her as she steps ever so slowly trying with every controlled move to not disrupt large amounts of jumping thorns. Slow progress is made carving a trail further into the thick patch. With every awful clump she removes, another seems to fall in its place.

Sweat dripping into her eyes, she can’t risk wiping them, her arms now covered in thorns. The salt will just have to sting. There is no turning back now. She is fully in and committed to winning this fight.

Pushing and fighting her way through, a sense of victory is starting to emerge. She powers on knowing eventually she will see the light at the end of this very nasty Cholla tunnel.

Thirsty from so much intense work she turns to reach for her water. The hours must have passed quicker than she realized. Surrounded by thorns and overgrown cactus the shadows slowly creep in.IMG_2505.JPG

She looks behind her to see there is no visible path. Every bit of cactus she thought she had removed now somehow replaced and multiplied! She is surrounded. The Cholla have started closing her in.img_2504

Panic sets in as she realizes there is no path, no direction, no water. She is surrounded. The Cholla are ready to fight back.

Her sweaty hands grip the rake tight. It is her only weapon to fight this overwhelming attack. She closes her eyes tight trying to get the sweat and sting out so she can focus, but clearing her vision only makes the reality of her confinement bring on a full panic attack.

Heart racing, short of breath she spins around dizzy and scared. Where is the house? What direction am I facing? She grabs her phone frantically pushing the screen but there is nothing. It is dead. No signal no power. No way to cry for help.

She throws her phone at the Cholla that are inches from her face but that only sends more pieces of flying shrapnel into her cheek. Pain shoots through her face sending hot streams of tears stinging down her bloody cheeks.

She falls to the ground only to have a thick layer of Cholla spikes pierce her knees and shins. Stabbing through her jeans bloody pieces of her flesh hold hundreds of thorns.

She screams and tries to make a break for it. Kamikaze style she runs full speed wildly through the Cholla with it firing back from every direction.She feels the hot, sharp pain in the side of her neck and knows another clump has landed. She is the target and the enemy has zeroed in.

Disoriented, terrified, shock sets in. The Cholla are spinning all around. Her arms and legs no longer move. The Cholla tighten their hold. Coming in from all sides. Spikes piercing every inch. Encased. Held in place like a bloody and twisted scarecrow. Waiting to be found.

Whispers in the Wind

The wind hasn’t stopped blowing for days. I close the doors and shut the windows but I can still hear the wind. The strong gusts taunt me. The whistles. The moans. The howls. The cries. The house creaks and pops.

The wind keeps blowing. Oh sure, it grows silent for a moment, lulling me into believing the torture is finally over, then an even stronger, more powerful gust blasts through, shattering the calm.

I hear them. The whispers. I tell them to stop but they don’t. They can’t. The dry desert wind carries them to me. The whispers in the wind.

I know it’ all my fault. I asked for them to talk to me. I closed my eyes hoping a simple word would come through. I lit the candles. I played along. So did they.

Ever so quietly, soft and light, the whispers came in like a welcome gentle breeze. Immediately I wanted more. I asked for more. New sensations ran through my body as invisible energies whispered to me. I was no longer alone.

The wind picked up. The whispers came faster. No longer gentle and light, the voices grew stronger. Wanting me more. Demanding that I listen. Listen closer.

Now, like the wind, I can’t make the voices stop. I want to leave. I want to run away from the desert. Run to a place where I cannot hear this menacing wind blow. Where I cannot hear the whispers…

I step outside and immediately feel surrounded by voices. I cannot move. The wind is wrapping and twisting and twirling around as the whispers grow louder and louder. My hair blows along with the dry air, catching the voices, trapping them close to my head. My skin absorbs the wind…and the whispers. I can’t take it. I run back inside and close the house up tight.

The relentless wind, barely held back by the locked doors and windows, but not the whispers… the whispers still come through. Circling the rooms. Hissing. Moaning. Whispering.

I run to my bedroom and climb to the back of the closet hoping the clothes will muffle the whispers. My mind has grown numb. I can no longer tell if the voices are outside or inside my body. The wind is still blowing.

I bang my head against the wall. Pain floods my spine but the whispers grow louder. I bang it harder. Dizzy, my heads rings, my body shakes. The whispers echoing, taunting me…

Do it again.

I take a few steps back then run head first screaming at the wall. Blood streams down my temple as I slowly pull my hair from the drywall, whispers swirling around me.

The wind still blows, rattling the house. It won’t stop. I can’t make it stop.

Find some candles. Get the board. I need to do the ceremony over again. My thoughts are swimming in the whispers. I need to try again. Formally tell them to stop.

My head hurts, my vision blurred. The blood has dried and cracks around my cheek. I can’t light the candles.

The wind won’t allow it. No… I asked for this and now I have to listen.

The Closet

One day a mom was in her kitchen doing the dishes when her little one came running in very upset. Seems the toys in his closet kept telling him to be quiet. Not really understanding what he meant his mother smiled and nodded and said “uh huh…”. The little boy insisted his mommy listened, yanked on her pant leg and said “the toys say shhh!” With a smile and a hug she assured him everything was fine and sent him off to play.

Later that day she found the little one sitting in the hallway outside of his room. “Why are you playing out here?” the mom asked slightly puzzled. “My toys yelled at me really loud to be quiet so I got mad and left.” Again just thinking this was a normal child whose imagination was running wild, she smiled and told him maybe he should just go outside to play.

The little one happily ran to the back yard with the family dog chasing close behind. His mom went back to her chores thinking nothing more of it. He just needed some fresh air.

That night as the family was settled in for bed the little one came to his mommy’s side to wake her up. This time the closet was moving! Hearing this strange statement, his dad rolled over semi awake and confused. The mom assured him it was just an overactive imagination from a little boy who has been playing all day.

She wandered the little one back to bed, re-tucked him in and said good night once more.

Only a few short hours later the little one was back to his mother’s sleeping side. “…something is moving in the closet…” he whispered into her ear. Fast asleep she did not stir.

Tears of fear streamed down the little one’s cheeks.

He wandered to his daddy’s side of the bed. “…something’s moving in the closet daddy…” the little one whispered so quietly that it was never heard.

The next morning the mom came out to the kitchen to find her little one had slept on the couch. Feeling guilty she had never even really checked his closet, she walked down the hall to his room to investigate.

Besides a few toys left laying here and there, the room was neat, the bed barely slept in. The toy chest in the closet overflowing. His mom now on her knees rummaging through the piles of stuffed animals and cars. Arm deep into a huge pile, searching for possibly a windup toy that is the cause of all this fuss, the distinctive sound sends chills through her spine. Her hand frozen in place with intense penetrating fear. The closet didn’t just “shhh” her. It rattled! There’s a rattlesnake in there somewhere!

Seering hot flashes of pain shot through her arm. Screaming for help she is repeatedly bitten by an angry and surprised snake. Her husband rushes to the room frantically dialing for help. Out of her mind with fear and pain, she flings her arm out of the closet sending the large snake flying across the room. In a dizzy haze she runs to her little one crying on the couch where she collapses at his feet moaning “I’m sorry…”

Rescue and paramedics arrive with lightning speed and were able to save the young mom’s life though her recovery would be long and painful.

Just hours home from the hospital, trying to settle back in after such a horrifying event, the phone rings. Her husband answers and listens to the news. The snake recovered from their home was determined to recently have given birth.

The Trail to the Left

The boys were told again and again “Do not go down the trail to the left. It is too dangerous.” But it is exactly those types of warnings that send boys down trails to the left. The left trail is the trail they heard ended at an old abandoned goldmine. Of course they were going to hike down there to see if the stories were true. That’s what boys do.

The weather that Saturday morning was perfect “hiking to an abandoned goldmine” weather. The boys set out early, both having told their parents they were headed over to a friend’s house.

Finding the trailhead was no problem. The hike seemed easy enough. So easy the boys joked about the story being a bust and what would they do for the rest of the day, figuring no real goldmine was going to be at the end of a clearly marked nature trail.

As the two boys continued to walk and goof off, further up ahead they could see the trail split in two. The left trail and the right trail. The left trail’s start almost entirely blocked by a series of signs warning of danger and hazards and cautions of harm. Obviously this trail was in need of closing but had never officially happened.

The boys looked at each other and smiled. Ok, maybe this was going to be good after all.

Now it was a race to see who could get to the mine the quickest. Dodging every warning sign, the boys ran straight down the trail to the left.

Up ahead they could see the rickety old boards that barely hung by rusty nails, the final barrier, the final warning to stop and turn around. The boys easily slipped between the rotted wood and climbed into the old mine.

Cobwebs hung thick in the corners, a sign no one had come through in quite some time.

No longer laughing, the boys grew even more serious as they climbed further into the creepy old mine. Standing in the eerie, musty darkness, the small travel flashlight too dim, walking safely any further was simply not possible.

The boys decided to head back out of the mine vowing to return tomorrow better prepared.

As they turned to go a low and deep whisper hissed at them

“Get out of my mine…”

Instantly both boys ran to the mines’ entrance and out into the fresh air.Excitement and fear kept the boys talking non-stop the whole way home.  They had both heard the voice as clear as day. It sounded like an old man’s voice. They needed to go back. They needed to try to record this voice before they told anyone about what they had just heard.

The next day the story was the same. The boys told their parents they were headed off to a friend’s house. The walk to the trailhead was now a run.  Running and jumping over anything that stood in the path, then down to the split in the trail to the left. Again dodging every warning sign, the boys ran straight into the entrance of the mine.

Armed with a high power flashlight and their phones as a recorder, the boys were confident they could find whoever or whatever had spoken to them.

Quietly they crept further back, deeper and deeper into the mine. Much farther than they had gone yesterday. The larger flash light beaming through the narrow tunnel carved into the earth so many years ago. The soil above now only being supported by rotted wood long since able to adequately hold back the crumbling ceiling. Rocks and dirt fell here and there, just enough to make fear of a collapse real.

Unsure just how far back into this obviously dangerous mine they should go, the boys stopped to discuss what they should do…

…the flashlight went out.

Standing in pitch black the boys franticly tried to turn the heavy flash light back on. But it was no use. Nothing. They reached for their phones. Again nothing. They were at least ten minutes deep into an abandoned mine standing in total darkness.

Pure fear swept through the boys like an icy breeze. The situation so insanely bad at this point how could it get any worse?

A voice much louder and deeper than the day before “…get… out… of… my MINE!” hissed directly into their terrified faces.

Crazed with fear the boys banged into each other as they took off running back the direction they had come. Running blindly at full speed both boys ran face first into the side of the mine’s dirt and rock wall knocking them both out cold.

There they lay on the cold ground unconscious while hisses of

“…get… out…”

hung in the air above them…

 

Days had passed with no word from the boys. Their frightened parents running out of places to look. Volunteers had gone to every friend’s house they knew of. None of the local kids had seen the boys lately. The phones showed no signal. Searches from the sky yielded nothing. No talk had ever been heard from the boys about going to the trail so no one ever looked there. The abandoned mine was too dangerous to send search teams in unless they were absolutely positive the boys had gone there.

Signs hung on every post asking desperately for any information about the two boys who had gone missing, eventually drying out in the sun and blowing away but never bringing the lost two home.

As the years passed stories swirled that maybe the boys had been abducted. Maybe they ran away? The boys’ parents eventually moving. The stares and glares of the suspicious  too much to take combined with such a terrible loss. The pain simply too great.

It was almost 15 years later when the city finally closed the mine for good. It was then the boys remains were found. Horrified workers told stories of finding the two skeletons  just yards from the mines entrance. No obvious signs of foul play, nothing preventing the boy’s from having simply walked out.

The Cowboy on the Hill

The Cowboy was a gunslinger. Came riding into town on his horse. No one knew exactly from where. Back then  Arizona was just wide open desert. The Cowboy was in search of a home.

Up on the top of a small hill he stopped, knowing he had found the perfect place. From the hill he could take in views of the Superstition Mountain and all the gold it held.

As time went by the Cowboy had settled quite nicely into his small camp on top of the hill. Every day he would ride into the mountains searching the trails. Treacherous, cactus covered, mountain trails leading foolish men to their deaths searching for gold.

Each night as the sun went down he would build a small campfire to cook his meals then settle in for a night’s rest. The coyotes would yip and howl echoing through the night under a sky filled with countless stars.

The Cowboy rose every morning before the sun, riding his way further and further back into the mountain each time. His horse now so familiar with these trails, the Cowboy would simply sit back in his saddle and let his trusted friend lead the way. Day in and day out the Cowboy would ride into the mountain from his hilltop camp.

Before long stories in the local town began to swirl…

See, the Cowboy was known in town as a gambler and a gunslinger. Depending on who told the story, the Cowboy had killed as many as 20 men in a single gunfight. But because he was also known to play an honest game of cards, no trouble was ever had. His poker face remained at all times. Not much small talk. No questions. No one knew his name.

Lately the Cowboy hadn’t been coming in to town as often. This made the towns folk wonder if the Cowboy had struck gold and if so, why wasn’t he spending any of it in town?

Along with the ever increasingly wilder stories came jealousy and greed. Hatred swirled around the collection of store fronts and saloons that was “the town”. Someone needed to go find out exactly what that Cowboy was up to!

One night an angry group of  men gathered and rode out into the desert to the base of the Cowboy’s small hill.

As they approached the hill they could see a light glowing from inside the tent. Quietly they fanned out. The men crept closer and closer when the light inside the tent suddenly went out. Rapid fire shots rang out. Men scattered in all directions.

By morning the story had spread across the valley that a cowboy on a hill had gunned down 10 armed men seeking his gold.

The stories sent gold seekers from miles around to come and try to steal the Cowboy’s gold now believed to be buried somewhere in his small hill. The story had spread far and wide with more and more gold in each retelling.

Armed men coming at him from every side. Wave after wave of bullets flying. The Cowboy the lone target. But after each attack, the tent on the small hill was still standing.

Fear swept the towns folk. Was some type of magic at work here? One lone Cowboy couldn’t possibly fight off dozens of men coming for his land and his gold. How was he getting supplies? How could it be possible?

But as unbelievable as it was, not a single man that had set out to conquer the Cowboy’s small hill came back alive.

Fewer men were now willing to risk their lives by going to the hill knowing it was certain death. A different kind of fear had set in. Now no one wanted to go anywhere near the Cowboy or his hill.

The Cowboy was never seen again. No remains were ever found. His tent, battered in the wind, finally blown away by a roaring monsoon. To this day not a soul has ever come forward claiming to have found gold anywhere in or around the hill.

Years later as homes started being built in the area stories resurfaced, though this time the stories were not about gold or even the cowboy. This time the stories were about strange sounds coming from the small hill. Moans and groans. Gun shots. Men yelling.

Some believe you can hear the haunted echoes from the gun fights of the past. Others simply dismiss these sounds as coyotes calling into the night.

an old wives’ tale

Two days ago a bird inadvertently flew into the house. I left the back door open for a few hours because the weather in the morning was so fantastic. I tend to forget we live high enough on a hill that it puts us directly in the flight zone. If birds aren’t crashing into the windows, they are actively bobbing and weaving trying to avoid the house as they fly by.

My dog Cotton came to my side, nose poke and a whimper, to alert me that I needed to see something or he had to pee. Either way I needed to get up and follow. There was the bird, out of breath and desperately confused as to why the view was perfectly clear but an invisible force was preventing flying through it. The bird flapped and banged, then stopped to regroup, refusing to turn around to the open door it came in from.

It took a minute but I was able to coax the bird gently to simply turn around then off it flew. Besides a little poo on the window sill and a couple of feathers, no harm no fowl.

Thinking this encounter was cool, I sent a few emails off to a couple of my close friends including a picture of the bird.IMG_6503.PNG

One friend responded about an old wives’ tale that I was not familiar with. (my brain then had a full secret conversation: is an old wives’ tale an old tale a wife tells or a tale from an old wife?)

My friend explained:

“Old wives’ tale that a wild bird in the house was a foreshadowing of a family death.  When I was young, a sparrow flew into my grandma’s house and you should have heard the wailing and shouting about an upcoming death.  More than 20 members of my family were there and I honestly thought they were going to contact the mortuary and beginning making funeral arrangements, they were so sure a family death was imminent.”

But then she assures me no one died for like a long time after that!

 

My brain immediately pictures the ghost birds that slam into our windows.image

 

Then yesterday morning TWO birds were trapped in the living room, never mind the fact that the front and back doors were wide open. Nope, let’s flap and bang into the windows so hard we injure ourselves.

IMG_6592.PNG One bird flew out on it’s own. The other is the one I believe left blood drops on the window sill. I was able to ever so gently hold it long enough to aim it in the right direction and then it was gone.

My husband and I cleaned up the aftermath of poo and feathers and blood, then sat at the table shaking our heads over cups of coffee when another bird flew straight through the house! In through the front door, out the back.

In the past two days we have had three birds inside the house and a fly through.  Is there even a wives’ tale that covers this? Any wives’ tales about huge tarantulas on the front door? How about Coyotes wandering in your yard? Or Javelinas walking up the path?  Does Eight Turkey Vultures circling overhead mean anything to an old wife?

 

So if one bird in the house means death, then what we have goin’ on over here must mean death and destruction of epic proportions! Dinosaurs will die AGAIN! The destruction foreshadowed is that epic!

…or

 

It just might mean if your doors and windows are open and you live up on a hill birds are going to fly into your house.

 

…but what fun is that?