Sunday, July 26, 2015


Thanks for photo and link to Scott's LA audio tours, where you can hear the parrots.
I have mentioned before that our Los Angeles-adjacent neighborhood is home to a rowdy flock of wild Amazon parrots.  The other morning, as two of them bounced and scooted around a utility wire,  a scuffle ensured, the result of which was a lime green feather floating toward the ground.  As my mind wandered during meditation, I remembered that, for a brief time in the early 90s, I made ceremonial art using found feathers.  The source of these objects was my father who discovered them on walks along back roads near his coastal home.  He'd save each in #10 envelope upon which he wrote, in his famously illegible hand, the place and type of bird.  Many of them were raptors which enjoyed good hunting in the hills above Cambria.

The meditation, part of the grace and gratitude program, today mentioned the bounty of nature as a cause for gratefulness.  Here on our suburban street color alone is enough to bring gladness.  Between the parrots and, this time of year, the yellow blossoms from the Cassia leptophylla tree which often land on my doorstep, not to mention the backdrop of blue sky, a Berol pencil type can sigh with pleasure.
Cassia leptophyll, the same sort that grows outside our studio window.  Learn more here.
Because of their leaf blower-volume, frenzied screeching, most intense around 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. in the summer, my son began calling the parrots The Children of the Night, now shortened to The Children.  They are frequently the center ring attraction to which the ringmaster has called our attention, while lesser-billed creatures like ground squirrels, mourning doves, various songbirds and crows perform around the edges.  The crows are not content for long to be a novelty act and soon clear the general area for themselves.

But what began this was the feathers, modest stacks of envelopes which arrived in batches, then my sawing and drilling branches from a neighbor's trimmed tree and binding the feathers to them as a prayer fan from which dangled talismans of flight and journey.  I love the mind's neglected doors from which even an abbreviated meditation can clear the rust and cobwebs.


Elizabeth said...

That last sentence is gorgeous. I LOVE this ritual of your father's -- the feather in a simple envelope.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Elizabeth - Thank you. I was delighted to remember the feather interlude. Unlike so many other material objects, I still have the envelopes and their finds. xo

Kass said...

I have a little collection of feathers. Never thought of making art with them.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kass - It was just the one time, the specific project. I still have the ones that remain, still in their #10 envelopes. A feather collection could even be handled like a museum display in (something I have always loved) Riker boxes, xo