Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Final: The Waxwing

The Waxwing (Study from Life)

Earlier this week I found a couple birds in our backyard, lying still on the ground. I was walking with our dog and I gasped aloud. The first one I saw looked fake, like those birds you would buy at a craft store, and for a split second I wondered if I or someone else had dropped one outside somehow. It was real, though, and I wondered if it had simply fallen from the sky or a tree, dead. But then I found the second one and realized they must have flown into our sunroom window. They were so beautiful, I'm sure they were waxwings (Cedar?), they each had these bright yellow and shiny red tips on their feathers. I am so softhearted and couldn't stand to leave them be... I picked them up and put them in a box to keep them off the ground. They were so soft, and still limp. I decided to paint them but I could only finish one before it got too dark and cold outside. The one I finished was the first one I found. The sketch of the second one is below.

Waxwing Sketch

David buried them somewhere safe in the backyard, and though I feel guilty over it, I also feel grateful for the chance to have studied such beautiful creatures from life, up close. It's not a chance you get often with animals. 

While on a walk yesterday we saw a small butterfly resting in the road. Assuming it too was dead, I touched its body to pick it up. It fluttered between my fingers and flew up, circling with a twin, leaving me startled and smiling. Excuse me while I get a bit sentimental here... but it was a comfort. 


  1. What a beautiful sketch of a beautiful bird. That is indeed a cedar waxwing. They migrate through Jacksonville every year, tho this year I have not seen as many. Disturbing. Your story made me cry, but uplifted me as well, knowing they had someone like, Hannah, to make their final resting place so peaceful. So few creatures get this in today's world. Thank you, Hannah!

    1. Sorry..used the business account...Lisa MacIntyre

    2. Thank you so much, Lisa <3 I know you of all people would appreciate them.

  2. What beautiful writing and art. Death is a part of life, and look... you brought them back to life by remembering and documenting them. That is the only immortality any of us can hope for.