knee deep in weeds

notes on a simple life

the birdbath

The birdbath sat in the backyard of my childhood home. It was tall and seemed massive to me as a child. I can remember hanging on the sides of it, which always got me into trouble, as the top does slip out of the base and is heavy enough to hurt someone. My father kept it filled with clean water, even in the winter, unless the snow was too deep, And years later, when my parents moved, the birdbath went with them. By then I was in college and I can remember thinking, why are they taking this old thing? The men from the moving company lifted the heavy top off the base, wrapped it in padding and put both pieces into the back of the moving truck and off it went. There had been talk of leaving it behind, but my mother wouldn't hear of it. It sat on the patio of their new home, always full of clean water and birds until they both were gone. 

When it came time to clean out their home, my sister and I conquered and divided and I was blessed with the birdbath. I remember Gary lifting the top, which now had some chips and somehow seemed a bit fragile, into the back of our Tahoe and then slipping the big base in beside it, laying it on its side, padding both of them with some big blankets. We brought it home and I was excited. 

Today it sits in a small island in our yard, surrounded by flowers, azaleas and Oregon grape. I can see it from the kitchen window. I too keep it full of clean water, even in the winter, when I sometimes have to break the ice, but rarely do I have to worry about too much snow. A bird feeder hangs nearby and it often has birds splashing in it, or sitting on the petrified rocks I keep in it. I am drawn to it, for many reasons, and I have always taken photos of it. 

Lately I have been placing flowers in it to capture their reflections in the water. This all started as a  bit of an accident. In one of my overzealous moments of deadheading, I clipped off the stem of a perfect flower and not wanting it to go to waste, I placed it into the birdbath to keep it alive. Later I would take it inside and place it in a vase. Coming back to retrieved it I noticed it had floated into the center of the birdbath and the reflection of it in the water was lovely. So of course, I headed in to get my camera, and just like that a series was born. Funny how we stumble upon these things. There is a peacefulness, a sort of centering for me when I am out at the birdbath taking these shots and I plan on continuing this throughout the year, marking the changes of the seasons. 

"Imagine that the universe is a great spinning engine. You want to stay near the core of the thing - right in the hub of the wheel - not out at the edges where all the wild whirling takes place, where you can get frayed and crazy. The hub of calmness - that's your heart. That's where God lives within you. So stop looking for answers in the world. Just keep coming back to that center and you'll always find peace." 
— Elisabeth Gilbert