Fly away, Peter…

…Fly away, Paul.

Does anyone else remember that nursery rhyme? Today, for me, it has two meanings, one happy, one sad.

Fly away, Peter: Today is my father’s funeral. His name was Peter. My mother’s ancestors might have said Alav hashalom, zichrono l’bracha (Peace be upon him, may his memory be a blessing). My father’s ancestors might have said Go forth, Christian soul, on your journey from this life. Whichever words we use, he is gone ahead, into that great mystery from which none return, and he is free.¬†There is still a Pa-shaped hole in my reality, but other things will crowd in over time and distract me from the size and shape of it. And I feel strongly that this rite of passage will reconnect me with everything; I’ve felt unmoored and uncertain and unsettled these past weeks. The support of my family and friends has made an enormous difference. This, for example, really lifted my spirits, and I am so grateful!

Fly away, Paul: The Wagtail family have departed, swiftly and silently. One minute they were there, the tiny nest overflowing with three hulking great teenage babies, the anxious parents hovering and darting in with mouthfuls of whiskery insects. The next, they were all gone. I checked carefully on the ground below the nest for signs of tragedy, and in the nest itself, but it was bare. They have flown! I never got the chance to capture the nestful of babies; Mrs Wagtail was too protective and they were too cautious, ducking down when I went close enough to try for a photo. Hard to believe that tiny little bowl held three babies and their mama at one point, in wind and heat and pouring rain…

One life ends, three more tiny feathery ones begin. It’s fitting.