I see them often – the magpies.
They choose to walk on long stalky legs, rather than fly.
They choose the ground and pick up shiny things,
interesting things ,
along the way.
It’s said that they mate for life and I admire that in them.
One of the saddest things I’ve ever seen is a lone magpie standing by his partner as she takes her last breath,
the life knocked from her fragile body by a speeding car,
his head cocked to the side, watching, watching -
knowing that he will be alone in the world but not daring to move from his impending loneliness.
His yellow eyes glistening and curious, yet sad.
I think if widowed magpies could cry they would.
They travel in groups – the magpies
and they keep each other safe, babies, juveniles, young and ageing adults alike.
They are all in it together.
It’s how I think of us.
Even the name magpie evokes the image of a patchwork, shabbiness – a mismatch of materials, that reminds me of our family.
A combination of characters and personalities, that, when combined, make a perfect unity somehow.
We are magpies, my family – my loves.
David and I have been married for twenty years tomorrow and I can no longer remember a life without him in it.
We have taken it in turns holding each other up when all the other birds were flying away,
when one of us was injured and bleeding,
when the other had wings clipped.
We have taken the longer path but we have enjoyed the journey
and found interesting things along the way – our home (nest) cluttered with inconsequentials that were meaningful at the time
but are now such a part of us, we could not let them go.
Even if we wanted to.
He is my shiny thing, along with my children
and together we stand on the side of the road as life speeds by and sometimes knocks the breath from our lungs.
He is my partner for life and I admire that about him.
Through everything he has been wholly mine
and I love him more because of it.
We are a part of a small, strong group.
Babies, juveniles, young and ageing adults alike
and as magpie parents we will protect that until we are no more.
We may swoop
and warble at times but that is what makes us…
Unique but not.
Two but one.