Me again, the storyteller.
A word on Brinley. Brinley is my niece, now the eldest of the two nieces (I want to go with “neese” as in “geese” here) I have. It’s strange when you don’t think you’re fully an adult yet, and then there are tiny children running around you and you realize that time has gone by without your consent.
I’m going to be brutally honest here. I have always been excited to be a cool and close aunt, and I doubt I will be that person to these two girls. This has nothing to do with them personally, of course. They’re darlings. But we live very far away, and by the time they would be able to visit my husband and I on their own, we will hopefully have little ones to care for.
When I first realized that I would never get to be the cool, young aunt, I may or may not have cried like a totally normal adult for a few days. It’s never easy to accept when something both unpleasant and unchangeable comes to pass.
Then, a little over a month ago, the idea struck me to send Brinley letters. I was giddy over my brilliance. My husband was nervous.
‘Don’t expect anything,’ he said gently, probably thinking of the day almost two years before when I blubbered like an idiot.
‘I won’t,’ I told him. And that’s true. I have no idea what happens with these cards when they get to her. Okay, maybe with the last one I do, but that’s not the point. The point is that it does not matter what happens, how Brinley takes the letter, if she likes it. The point is that I’m sending my love to her. I love her and send her letters, so why would I expect anything in return? The act in itself is freeing and lovely.
Here’s the second letter of what I hope will be a tradition.
The other day I was out on a walk with Sadie when we came across the most peculiar feather. Sadie thinks it came from the mysterious house across the street.
The house has a large wrought iron gate that spans the entire front yard. A tree sprouts up from the middle and shades everything. Two cushioned chairs are stationed under the tree, yet never sat in. But the truly mysterious part of this house is all the animal noises!
“Maa,” go the goats. “Cock-a-doodle-doo,” cries the rooster.
The chickens cluck and the cockatoos squawk.
There is never a bark or a meow.
Sadie and I have never seen this menagerie of animals, but we know it exists. The day we found the feather was the proof.
It’s a brilliant green feather, tipped blue on one end and red at the other. Sadie thinks this feather belonged to a very special bird, a queen bird, who escaped! She is the queen, Sadie says, because she wears such beautiful colors. But she is not Queen of the mysterious house.
She is Queen of the Bombagoots, a sea of colorful birds that lives in the Galapagos Islands (a small cluster of islands not far from Panama, where you visited!). There are parrots (like the Queen), and cockatoos and herons and hawks and mockingbirds. There’s even a vermilion flycatcher or two, which are blazing red birds that look like they swallowed a light bulb (go find their picture on the computer)!
Sadie also thinks there are LOVE BIRDS in the Galapagos Islands, just like the ones you saw with me!
And guess what Sadie says all these birds are doing? They are having a Bird Party! Probably with cake and ice cream to celebrate the return of their escaped Queen.
That Sadie’s idea anyway, and she is a dog, so she tends to think parties are always involved. I’m sending the special feather to you.
What do you think happened?
Love, your Aunt Rosewater