So Many Birds and Too Little Time
I could have narrowed our bird theme down to one kind of bird! Just listing birds could have eaten up the an entire hour. But listing is not nearly as fun as hearing all the bird stories that were told around the quilt. Almost everyone had one!
Out of all the stuff I brought (which I didn't really need) the rooster probably triggered the most stories. Many had farm memories and I tried not to cringe hearing about "Mama grabbing the chicken and laying that neck down on the log..." We talked about how it was just part of growing up in many households, but Mary said she still could never watch.
Hunters or Birdwatchers
The log birdhouse on the table inspired lots of pondering about designs of birdhouses and feeders and birdbaths! I loved hearing Betty's description of watching the birds from her window on a rainy day.
And I have a few who can't stay seated if there's anything that resembles a beat. Mary was out of her seat with "Rockin' Robin" and a few more were up with "Funky Chicken" which is NOT the Chicken Dance! I was exhausted from all that knee and elbow wobbling, so I tamed the group with Danny Kaye's "Ugly Duckling". His voice was mesmerizing as he sang and told the story. The group applauded after. Not for Danny, but for Mary who had accompanied the whole story with facial expressions and gestures. Vera, who was brand new to our gathering, grinned and clapped longest. "I knew that story!" She said with an accent. "But I never heard that song when I lived in Brazil!"
Books and Movies
The sweet illustrations of the baby bird and his scarf-wearing mama, brought many smiles. Almost all were familiar with "To Kill a Mockingbird". In one group we were reminded, "The story isn't really about a Mockingbird..." It was sweet to hear Mary explain the meaning behind the title.
Bird Brain, duck-footed, light as a feather, he's cuckoo, silly goose, eating crow, that's for the birds, eagle eye, hawk eye, crazy as a loon, chicken legs, she's a wise old owl...
Bird Watching... in Books
My very last group was the smallest. The atmosphere was so peaceful and cozy, we ended up actually enjoying the colorful books that the other groups had hardly had time for. We talked about what makes a bird beautiful... the colors, shape, sound? We wondered about the symbolic Nightingale and the Stork. We remembered the lullaby, "Hush Little Baby Don't Say a Word" . It was touching to hear all our voices together, attempting to recall the verses we had sung to our children... or our own mothers had sung to us!
What I Learned:
I learned about some children watching robins in their schoolyard. The silly birds were drunk from fermented berries! I heard stories and I learned lots of facts, but mostly I was reminded about how rich and satisfying it is to talk about these amazing creatures. luckily, not a single person sitting around the quilt had ORNITHOPHOBIA!
For 20+ years children have called it the Magic Quilt. They've danced and pretended all over these colorful squares. I've dragged it to schools, shelters and studios where children have climbed on top to hear Magic Quilt Stories and to act them out.