Random stuff, reflections on the meaning of life and death, humour, self-deprecation, a bit of bad poetry.

What is the shape of your joy? 
In Kyo Maclear’s wonderful memoir, Birds Art Life, she refers to her friend Jack Breakfast and his cure for creative depression: “He had discovered his joy was bird shaped.”
A few years ago, I think it was the month of June, I was walking my dogs through the local park during my lunch hour, when I heard a bird song for the first time. What I mean is, until that exact moment in time and space, this song had been nothing but white noise in my head, the soundtrack to a busy, distracted life. But on that particular day, for whatever reason, the universe opened up and it was like I heard it for the first time. Its melody was sweet and clear. Two notes in succession, repeated. I remember feeling fully aware in that moment and the distinct sensation of my heart lifting in my chest. I scanned the trees above to find the source of the music but to no avail. It was only much later, in describing it to Ian, that he identified it as a chickadee song
As it turned out, the shape of my joy was also a bird. And in discovering that joy, my life was permanently altered and I became a bird person.
Late last night when I should have been in bed, I was busted by Ian as I edited a selection of the 500 plus bird photos I took during this past Sunday’s snowstorm (make that crazy bird lady). 
“What are you doing?”, he asked.
“Editing photos when I should be winding down.”, I replied sheepishly. I showed him the shot I was working on.
“Nice! I wrote you a poem.”, he said. “I sent it through messenger.”
(As much as I love poetry, I especially love it when it’s written for me.)
Here is the poem:
My love loves taking photographs
The backyard birds are famous now

Her spirit animal
Chick a dee dee dee…
Little cuddly looking cuties 
that can’t be cuddled
Cause they can’t be still

If I were to describe a bird 
that most resembles her
It would be the chickadee
Predictably unpredictable 
Or unpredictably predictable

These little flitterfluff rascals
All puffed out against the 
fierce forces of winter
Flitting and quitting 
in acrobatic routines 
that never repeat. 
Peep peep

hard to photograph, a challenge
They don’t sit still for long 
Not long enough to focus on. 
Always on to the next task

I’m waiting for my chickadee
To come home
— Ian Hanchet
And here is the photograph I was editing (the shape of my joy):
So tell me, what is the shape of your joy?

5 thoughts on “The Shape Of My Joy

  1. Boy Blue says:

    Il love how you love these creatures. This story and the serendipity of how our worlds entwine together is a wonder. the shape of my joy!


  2. Thanks for pushing me to write this. Not as pretty as your poem, but a testimonial of sorts and something I’ve been wanting to explain for a long time. ❤️


  3. Bonnie says:

    Your words and art inspire me. In our virtual world we are unaware of our impact on one another. Your words put such happiness in my heart…and a yearning as well…I'm not really sure what the yearning is for yet…but one day I will discover it. Your art blows me away…you have capture the essence of those beautiful birds..and the joy you have of taking those photographs just shines through. I really have to wonder if the shape of my joy is a bird as well…Peace Sharon!!


  4. Thank you so much for your sweet words, Bonnie! They inspire me to keep writing. I wish I could say that the ideas flow easily or that taking photos is a cinch but the truth is, it's really about discipline (not my strong point) and forcing myself to challenge myself by stepping out from my comfort zone. For example, I've been taking photos since I was a kid but once I started looking at the photographs of photographers I admire, i became curious and starting researching techniques and finally practicing with different settings on the camera. Believe it or not, it has only been a few years since i read my camera manuel and took it off the automatic setting. I believe your joy is bird-shaped too. How could it not be. And as for what you're yearning for, perhaps it is a blog of your own where you can share some of the lovely thoughts and ideas you post on social media. I know I would certainly be one of your followers! Much love to you! xox


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