I remember as a young girl I played with paper dolls. I remember looking through the paper doll magazine and admiring the pretty paper clothes and the dolls in the back cover. I remember gingerly punching out the clothes along their perforated edges so as not to rip them. I remember folding the tabs on the paper clothes onto the doll’s body. I loved playing with paper dolls.
In my early twenties, after I became a mother, I remember looking for paper doll magazines. I wanted to share them with my oldest daughter. It was such a fun past-time in my youth that I wanted to share the experience with her. I wanted to teach her how to punch out the clothes, the dolls and dress them. I wanted to watch her use her imagination as she played with them.
I never found any. I guess they stopped making those magazines. Oh but how I longed to share with my little girl the joy of playing with paper dolls.
Summer’s dusk is welcomed by the trilling of the cicada, a sound that takes me back to my childhood. Back to the days I, a prepubescent pre-teen, sat on the steps with my big sister, harmonizing the song Falling in Love Again. Back to the days where sitting on the front steps of our old family home, listening to music was a favorite pastime.
Birdsong welcomes spring’s rising sun and in those early hours when the peeps, chirrups and chirps of the birds are the loudest, I am returned to my childhood bedroom. I am lying in my bed, listening to the birds. A cool spring breeze carries their song to me while caressing my cheek. My old bedroom was at the back of the house, on the second floor. My bedroom window looked out onto the backyard and the tree that separated our family home from my grandma’s house. Sometimes the birds seemed so close because of the tree. Birdsong is my natural alarm clock in the spring.
Spring is my favorite season. Is that why I listen so intensely for birdsong? I do not know if birds sing to greet the rise of the sun during the cold winter months. It may be because I dislike the cold or maybe because I am too wrapped up in my thoughts to notice. Or maybe there are too few birds to make a chorus and I can only hear the solo songs of those that do not fly south in winter.
Winter is the season of the crow. It is the call of the crow that precedes the sun’s dim lit rise, shielded by the steel clouded sky. Their caws are carried on the biting wind, loud and creaky like a tree protesting the weight of snow on its slender elongated branches.
Spring is the season of renewal, a season for fresh and new beginnings. Birdsong is the sound of spring and green is its color. Tree limbs begin to bud new leaves. The grass changes from its wintry honey blonde to a vibrant green. Flowers begin to bloom.
I remember as a child while walking to the bus stop, I would stop and admire the morning glories growing on the fence beside a vacant lot. Their stems twined and entangled in the chain link, wrapping around the forked prongs along the fence’s top. Their trumpet shaped flowers in full bloom, purple and white, intermingled. Delicate petals covered in dew drops like tears on eyelashes.
I cannot remember when I stopped listening for the sound of spring. I cannot remember when I stopped admiring dew-dropped morning glories or when I stopped tasting the sweet nectar of honeysuckle, all the things I had done in my childhood. Maybe my ears became deaf and my eyes blind when my innocence was lost. Maybe these things became frivolous musings when the clouds of shame took root in my soul.
Now, though, I can hear birdsong again. Now it has again become my natural alarm clock. I wish I could see a morning glory, its petals opened wide, face turned upwards, smiling at the sun, dew drops resting on petals of purple and white. Maybe if I see one, it would be a sign from the heavens saying everything is ok. A confirmation that I am on the right path of this healing journey.
Shame is a crow. It still resides within me. It still spreads its dark wings and flaps off the cobwebs of painful memory. It makes sure I am aware of its presence, however, its weight is not as heavy. The crow is becoming less of a burden. I can feel the difference. I can hear the difference because I can hear the morning chorus of the birds. I can hear the tweets, chirrups and twitter of birdsong, welcoming the morning sun. It is a sound…the sound…of hope.