Sunday, February 8, 2009

Specific Acts of Kindness

The day Maria died, outside of her house a pileated woodpecker watched. They're rare around here and having it around, staying as people entered and left her house made its presence even more interesting. Of course, it was a horrible, unforgettable day with so much to take in, so much to absorb and that bird was a simple thread of hope.

Since then, the woodpecker has appeared to us. On the very special day of Maria's daughter's college graduation, as my mom, sister and I drove to the event, a pileated woodpecker swooped down, right along side of the highway. He stopped right in front of us, flapped his wings and we gasped at the sight of him.

Since then, the woodpecker has appeared at my dead tree on the side of our driveway. He comes some mornings, pecks away and then leaves. But he's noticed. He visits Mom's house, too.

There's a wonderful local artist and family friend who recently had an art opening. She does amazing paintings and sent out postcards to promote her show.

"Did you see Maribeth's postcard?" Mom asked.

On the postcard was a photograph of an amazing painting of, you guessed it, a pileated woodpecker. (That's the painting, at the top of this post!)

What a coincidence
, we thought. Maribeth doesn't usually paint birds and to pick this one, we shook our heads and planned on going to the opening.

At the opening we stared in front of the painting. It was stunning in real life. Mom's smile widened. "Can you believe it?" she asked. Maribeth hugged us.

"How did you think of this one?" I pointed to the woodpecker.

"That one! You know," she said, "I just had to paint it."

Mom told her about the woodpecker and its special meaning to us. Our eyes filled with tears and we all looked off, the way you do when you can't change something and there's nothing more to say. We looked at the rest of her paintings, landscapes, flowers and roomscapes. All beautiful work, and then went home.

That was a week ago. Yesterday, my mom called me. "You'll never guess what I got," she said. "Maribeth. She gave me the painting."

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful painting and beautiful gesture on Maribeth's part.
    I have never seen a pileated woodpecker, also, until after Maria died. Then on several occasions, one appeared at our bird feeder and at my daughter's, Maggie's. One day I was in the car going to work and had just left my driveway. I forget the exact incident but something made me say out loud, "What do you think of that, Maria?" And with that, a huge pileated woodpecker swooped across my windshield and landed on the mailbox on the side of the road and just stared at me. I was surprised to say the very least. And am even more so, now that I know of the special significance of that most stunning bird. Aunt K.