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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Faithful friends ARE sturdy shelters.

The photograph atop this entry features a Northern mockingbird alighting on the branches of a shrub known as a Continus Coggygria (Smoke Bush) which has been growing in my garden for a number of years. I took the image when the lovely creature stopped by to spend a good deal of time with me this past Friday evening.

As you may recall, dear reader, I recently published an entry (here on Blogger) about another visit from this special creature (on Thursday, April 6th), where I included poems (by Mary Oliver) re the Northern mockingbird.

In the aforementioned blog entry, I also included an observation re humans and this bird type, which was made by Emily Ramos. Her observation refers to the process of writing. Ramos states that "We are like the mockingbird, afraid to sound our own voice and instead pulling all the stories we hear to ourselves and simply replaying them. Too many people never find their own voice and simply repeat the things they have heard for their entire lives. What we need to do, in writing and in life, is be brave and let our voices be heard. Be yourself when people are around, try not to be afraid of what others will think of you for letting your opinion be heard. Share your voice with the world, even if you are still finding it. The only way to know what you believe and feel is by expressing yourself. Listen to the stories around you and let them shape you – let yourself find your voice and use it."

I am repeating Ramos's philosophy at this time because I've been trying to return to volume two of Cam's first endeavor, Words In Our Beak Volume One; a book that is available as an interactive digital read,

as well as in a "have and hold" version that is in soft-cover format.

The digital formats are in the Apple Store (iBooks with clickable links) and also on Amazon (ePub Kindle style where links to related topics are included).

In any event, the iBook version, which came out in June of 2015, was edited by the late Peggy Wood, pictured below in the act of going through my work.

This particular version of Words In Our beak Volume One has been dedicated to Peggy, and though she's been gone since December of 2014, the void in my life, and struggle to pursue my writing voice has been ongoing. I'm like the little mockingbird in this respect, for this bird type has been associated with the difficulty in finding confidence to pursue one's true voice.

Peggy died on the last day of the year in 2014. The following month, a Northern mockingbird — for the first time ever — began to visit my rooftop garden on a regular basis, before taking an off/on approach to spending time here. I am thrilled this bird type has returned, as evidenced my my recent (and aforementioned) blog entry.

My reaction to a visit from this creature is much like Henry David Thoreau's heartfelt response to encountering a sparrow in his garden. Thoreau wrote: “I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.”

Thoreau's quotation stayed in my mind while I stood in awe of the Northern mockingbird who chose to spend so much time with me this past Friday. This is evidenced by the following photos, which are similar, but the slight differences reveal just how truly special this creature is.

The look of concentration or contemplation in this bird's eyes; the way the creature's feet are wrapped around the branches of my Smokey Bush; the manner in which the bird is puffing-up to keep warm in the evening cold temperatures; the nostrils on the bird's beak... these are just a few of features confirming how perfectly this bird has been created.

During that visit the bird was ever so silent. I could almost hear the wind blowing his feathers, making it hard to believe that I was in the UWS of NYC, where the sounds of silence do not usually prevail. He seemed in such deep thought while upon those branches, but maybe nothing was on his mind at all; for he gave no signs of joy or fear. By virtue of the fact that he barely moved for such a length of time, I perceived him to be patient, or observant; or both. Was he just trying to figure out how to use his voice?

Finally he flew over to my Japanese Larch (Larix Kaempferi) and nibbled on a snack of suet cake.

And then before taking off for the night, he gazed my way, as his breast feathers blew in the wind. 

I hope the mockingbird finds a way to share his songs with me. And, I hope I find a way to include this bird type's scenarios in my book sequels in a manner that is true to me and to them.

Meanwhile, I ultimately shared my news of having a Northern mockingbird spend an evening with me by phoning Peggy's brother, Robert Wood. He can be seen in the collage below,

that I created to honor Peggy's eighty-ninth birthday, which turned out to be her last (she died seven months later). In any event, I told Robert about how much the mockingbird caused me to think of Peggy, and her support of me, when I was writing the iBook version for volume one of Words In Our Beak. We also discussed the fact that at the present moment, the soft-cover version is only being sold in the MagCloud On-Line Bookstore; and that a few people have informed me that they do not use a computer and are wondering how they can purchase the soft-cover version of Words In Our Beak Volume One. 

Right now, the only possibility for someone to purchase the book without the use of a computer would be for me to buy it and sell it to them. But at this time I cannot afford to do this, and upon hearing my plight, Robert Wood, who owns a copy of the soft-cover version (which he is showing to others), offered to buy me ten copies so that I could sell them!

I'm grateful for Robert Wood's generosity! His actions caused me to recall one of the meditations at The Sixth Station of the Cross, which goes something like this, "a faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one, finds a treasure; a faithful friend is a life saving sum can balance his worth...;" and it is a meditation which I've written about in prior posts here on Blogger.

The void in my life from Peggy's passing has been painful, but the friendship of Robert and his wife Lynda, has truly been consoling. I hope that, if, Words In Our Beak has success (or perhaps I should say when Words In Our Beak has success); that I will be able to reach out to others, in the same manner in which Robert has done for me.


I no longer actively produce event program covers, invitations and the types of greeting cards described here or on my website but arrangements might be able to be made under certain circumstances. My focus is on the Words In Our Beak book series, pictured below...


...whose stories are told from the point of view of Cam, a female cardinal, whose photo is on the cover of each book. Words In Our Beak’s goal is to open readers to a simple understanding of the winged world and their environment. Set in my rooftop urban garden in New York City. Words In Our Beak is directed to children and adults who are curious about birds, and want to learn about them from a unique perspective. The books include hundreds of images of flora and fauna, links to movies, as well as to informative narratives that have been created by the author.

Please click here to go to my blog post that provides details as to where you can get these books.

Additionally, I have rendered some images from these books into other formats and they are available via Fine Art America (FAA). Some of my other photographs (Black & White Collection, Kaleidoscopic Images and the famous Mandarin duck who visited NYC) can also be found on my FAA pages.

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