Morning Bouquet-On My Porch (For Mama)
Though she’s been gone for over 22 years, not a day passes that I don’t think of Mama. Most times it’s the simplest things that trigger my memories—hearing a mockingbird sing or seeing the dogwood tree illuminated by the morning light. Or a vase full of the wildflowers I just picked—Mama preferred them over the store bought kind. Although they never knew her, my children are so like her—dreamy and artistic, yet down to earth and plainspoken. She would adore them.
I’ve wondered a lot about where our souls go when we die. People talk about their loved ones who have passed being in heaven, but really the Bible doesn’t say that we go straight to heaven when we die. Years ago, on Ariel’s birthday, we were in Duke Gardens when we saw a wood thrush on the path ahead. It didn’t fly away as we approached, but cocked its head and sang, looking straight at us. Then it started hopping down the path, looking back at us as though to say Follow me. So we did. The wood thrush led us for quite a ways, hopping and looking back, before finally flying up away into the sweet spring morning. It was a magical moment, made more so by the fact that it was Ariel’s birthday. I must admit, my first thought was that the soul of my mother was temporarily housed in that wood thrush’s body. After all, wood thrushes were one of her favorite birds.
Who can say? Is it so far-fetched to believe that our souls may reside in many different places before the day comes when our spirits rise to be reunited with our Maker? And I know, for sure, my Mama would want to spend most of that time flying. She couldn’t walk for the last five years of her life, so I love to imagine her soaring up far above our earthbound selves or perched singing in her beloved dogwood tree.
So I talk to all the birds I see, just in case, and chase the black cat that skulks about our property stalking birds. I watch as the birds fly into the firmament, gazing at them until they disappear. I listen to the wood thrush at dusk, singing its sweet but slightly melancholy song from the highest forest trees. And I smile, thinking of Mama and relish the thought that she’s singing for us, that’s she’s flying through the clouds. Waiting for the day that we fly, too.
Happy Mother’s Day to Mama. And to all Mamas, near and far.
And to all Mamas in this world…or the next.