Friday, December 30, 2011

{this moment} : : Paper Hats

Pigeon's mother loves this tradition started by Amanda at Soulemama:
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Share your moment with Pigeon and his mom by leaving your link in the comments below :o)
Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Plane Rides for Pigeon : : A Trip to New England

Pigeon was sound asleep after a long week of travels. It was a week of firsts for Pigeon. He visited his first airport. He flew on his first airplane. He had his first real Christmas. And best of all, he met most of his New England family for the very first time. Whenever Pigeon opened his eyes, a new face smiled down at him. Every time he wiggled, a different lap warmed him. And every time he needed a hug or a cuddle, a strange but soft set of hands held him against an unfamiliar but welcoming chest.

High voices and low laughter rang out around him from above and below. These were the sounds of Pigeon's family, young and old and in-between. Some were tall and swayed slowly in the room like trees; others were short and scampered under everyone's feet like dogs. Pigeon didn't know there were so many other people in the world almost as tiny as he, and every bit as loud.

In New England there were cousins who fed him and stroked his hair with cookie-crumb fingers. There were aunts who sounded a bit like his mother, and great-aunts who sounded more like his Grammy. There were uncles who patted him and passed him back quickly. And there was his wonderful Grammy, who had been there when Pigeon was born. Finally there was Grampy, who had given Pigeon his name. He waited in the background, quiet and patient, for a turn with the new little boy. When the gathering ended, the others left and Pigeon slept in Grampy's lap in a house as quiet and as still as he.

It wasn't long before certain voices and laps and hands and chests were no longer strange to Pigeon at all. The old New England house became familiar, too, with its creaking, wide pine-board floors, its low-beamed ceilings, and its stout wood stove. There was a tree in one corner like the one at his house, with the same warm glow from giant bulbs coloring everyone's face with Christmas. Things were warm and happy there, Pigeon decided. He thought he might stay in New England for a while. 

But just as quickly as he arrived, Pigeon had to leave. Mother and Father whisked him away once again to the airport, where a thousand lights made him squint and people zoomed past on floating stairs of steel and glass. Such a place was not warm and cozy like the house in New England. But Pigeon still had Father's hands to shield him and Mother's lap to sleep in. As the plane roared and rocketed through the black December sky, Pigeon curled up like a hedgehog and slept. Pigeon knew that with the right hands and lap a person could be cozy just about anywhere.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Presents for Pigeon

Today was the Monday before Christmas and Pigeon's family wanted to have their own Christmas together in the evening. In a few days they would leave town and have other Christmases with family and friends who couldn't wait to see Pigeon. Mondays are always Father's day off, and he spent this one with Pigeon while Mother ran around working especially hard to get ready for their many celebrations.

Pigeon loves his father's deep, kind voice. You are a lucky boy, to have a Dad who speaks so gently to you, Mother said before she got up to begin another job. And Pigeon was. He always felt safe in Father's arms, and only cried there when something was wrong with his diapers, or his tummy felt growly from being too empty, or grumbly from being too full. Sometimes Pigeon squabbled when he was too tired to do anything else, but he was never afraid to fall asleep there. And so Mother was never afraid to leave Pigeon with his father, as some mothers would be. I am a lucky Mama, too, she thought.

When Mother returned from her trip into town, she started a special dinner. She rubbed a giant bird with butter and salt and pepper and slid it into the piping hot oven. Then she stirred cranberries into a pot of water and sugar on the stove top, and squeezed in the fresh juice of an orange and some long, curly strips of peel the color of a sunset. Mother hadn't turned away for more than a minute before the whole thing boiled over onto the burner, hissing and crackling and making them all suck in their breath and wait for the smoke. Mother saved the pot of ruby-red sauce, but not before the whole house smelled like a camp fire.

It wasn't the worst thing that could have happened, and Pigeon didn't mind the smell. Father gave him his milk while Mother cleaned up her mess. Then Pigeon had a delicious bath. He liked the warm water that Mother dribbled over his tummy and legs. It reminded him of a cozy, dark place he had been to once.

Once Pigeon was clean, he was slathered in powdery lotion and dressed. Mother finished wrapping presents and put them under the tree. Then she made a special tray of some of Father's favorite treats. There were slices of tart apple, giant wheat crackers, and a pastry filled with oozy, soft cheese laced with jam and nuts. Sparkling golden juice filled tall glasses that stood like crystal tulips on a giant wooden tray. Mother lit the candles on the mantle and Father put on a special, old Christmas movie. It was time to open presents.

Pigeon's hands were too small and curled inward to open his presents by himself. Mother and Father helped him tear the paper and slip off the ribbons. Inside were colorful wooden toys for stacking and spinning, a special ornament from one of his aunts, a memory book, and new things to wear. Last of all was a company of circus puppets, just large enough for Father's fingertips. I will have to learn stories to tell him with these, Father said. Mother thought he was supposed to make them up. Well, I can do that, Father said, and Mother knew he would.

Mother and Father had presents too, but the best present of all sat in Mother's lap between them. It was Pigeon's first Christmas, and he would most likely not remember it. But his parents would, because of how much they loved him, and how happy they were to be, at last, a family.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Snow for Pigeon

This morning, just after Pigeon drank his milk and just before he went to sleep, his mother turned the blinds to let in the light, and let out a little gasp. There beyond the window pane was a gentle morning snow. This was one of his mother's favorite things. Pigeon watched with wide, blue eyes as the world was frosted white. It was not a bad way to start the day, with warm milk, a soft lap, and fresh falling snow before a nice, long nap.

Later when Pigeon awoke, Mother was getting ready for Christmas. Pigeon looked around the room with her for signs of the special day to come. There were heavy hooks with shiny shapes on top sitting on the mantle: a star for Father, a tree for Mother, and a little round man with a long pointy nose for Pigeon.

These are for stockings, Mother said. One for me, one for Daddy, and one just for you! The little round man could be made much bigger out of real snow, with a carrot nose and branches for arms. Someday, Mother said, you will make a snowman of your own.

She lifted Pigeon to the tall, green Christmas tree to smell the sharp scent of the forest and feel the prickle of pine needles against his palm. They found hand-carved wooden ornaments in all sorts of shapes and sizes: slim, regal reindeer with tufted, red noses; hollowed-out shapes cut from a wood called Purple Heart; snowmen and candles and trains that glittered; and paper-thin snowflakes, airy as lace. Your Paw-Paw made these for us, Mother explained, making a snowflake dance in Pigeon's face.

It wasn't long before it was time for Pigeon to rest. The snow had stopped falling, but the ground was still white. Pigeon fell to dreaming and wondered that there could be such cold snow without, and such warm snow within.

Friday, December 16, 2011

{this moment}

Pigeon's mom loves this tradition begun by Amanda of Soulemama:
"A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."
Pigeon's pic of the week:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Who is Pigeon?

Pigeon is a little boy, still very young, born in October when the leaves still garnished the trees and the corn stood tall and golden in the fields. He was tiny and perfect then, and still very much is, though he wails like the March wind when he wants someone's attention. He sighs and smiles in his sleep, and when he does his mother is glad after all that she wasn't fast asleep like him, or she would have missed the miracle.

When he first appeared, he had tufts of dark silky hair like goose feathers at the nape of his neck and a thin sheen of it gracing the rest of his head. It mostly fell out, but is growing back in much lighter and still a silky-smooth down (though it's fuzzy and stands on end after a bath). His eyes are sometimes blue like his mother's, and sometimes hazel, like his father's. He has Mother's chin and Father's smile, but his whole face changes with each passing mood.

At times Pigeon is anxious. He likes to be swaddled. His mother's prayer is that he grows up to be above all else kind, to stand up for the helpless, and comfort the weak, and so she is careful to hold him close when he needs it and show him loads of kindness whenever she can. She doesn't always get it right, but Pigeon is remarkably forgiving for one so small. He knows somehow that Mother needs as much patience as he does, and together they are learning, and growing, and changing...

Pigeon is growing and changing much too quickly, in fact! And so, here is a simple record of his days, moments swept up out of the current of his childhood and put into jars to be turned and examined in the changing light of future seasons. Perhaps not extraordinary, but no less delightful. Everyone should have a shelf full of jars somewhere, memories preserved to be feasted upon when life gets cold and the fields dry up...