the continuation of life

tufted titmouse by Jack Bulmer (pixabay)

The idea of the unchanging song of the birds singing in our ears as well as the ears of our ancestors conjures a potent image of the continuation of life — an inheritance so subtle that we must immerse ourselves in the sound of birdcall in order to enter into its richness. The oracular calling of birds speaks directly to our hearts, bypassing our minds; it is a mode of divination that both we and our ancestors had to learn — an unchanging language of meaning.
~ Caitlín Matthews
(The Celtic Spirit: Daily Meditations for the Turning Year)

Many years ago I saw a picture of a woman from the 1800s holding a tabby cat. It startled me that the cat looked just like a cat from our time! I sort of expected the cat to look as different as the clothing and hairstyles and furniture did back then. And when reading the above words it struck me that not only did cats and other animals look the same to my ancestors, but birds sounded the same, too. It’s a lovely connection, hearing the same tunes they did.

“Morning Glory” by Dona Gelsinger

I thoroughly enjoyed doing the above puzzle as part of my celebrating First Harvest. Something about it is so appealing I had a hard time putting it away after enjoying looking at it for a few days. I suppose the scene could be set in any time period, too.

We now have 155 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our town. Our county (New London) has 1,433 confirmed cases. Of those 6 are still in the hospital and 103 have lost their lives. That’s 31 new cases in this county and 4 more in the hospital since the last time I looked on August 3rd. It’s ticking up again…

19 thoughts on “the continuation of life”

  1. That’s a very good point, Barbara. Our ancestors must have listened to the same bird and animal sounds as we did, and loved their children in the same way as we do, and had hopes and dreams for the future also. Yet all that remains of our ancestors, in many instances, is a one-dimensional black and white photo of them wearing clothes that look nothing like the clothes we wear now.

    I think future generations will have less left to the imagination about us. We will leave behind coloured photos, videos of both our movements and voices, and in many cases they will have our written words to learn more about us from as well. How wonderful it would be to have so much to learn more about who our ancestors were!

    1. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see a video of one of our ancestors living in the 1800s? Maybe that’s why some of us like to watch historical dramas.

      I had some other thoughts after I posted this. Music. Sometimes when I listen to classical music it occurs to me that my peasant ancestors probably never heard that “fancy” music even though they were living at that time. Only the rich could go listen to an orchestra in a theater. But when I listen to someone playing a guitar or a fiddle and singing along there is more of a chance my ancestors heard that kind of music from time to time.

      And, just like animals, the human body looks the same now, without clothing, as it did 200 years ago. 🙂 Perhaps that’s one reason so many artists left us so many nude paintings and sculptures.

    1. Yes, there are lots of Barbara Rodgerses there but I’m the one with the blue dragonfly avatar. I’ve been thinking of sticking my maiden name in there to make it easier for people to find me…

  2. What an interesting thought. Have never pondered animals/bird song from long ago. I am sorry about your local cases going up. I guess they are in many places. Your puzzle is cute! My grandma had bowls with roosters painted on the bottom. When she fed us lunch we had to eat until we could see the rooster.

    1. What a fun memory of your grandma and her rooster bowls! Grandparents have the most interesting things in their homes. Change is a fascinating subject because some things, like fashion and the other props on the stages of our lives, transition so quickly, while evolution happens so slowly we can’t percieve it much in our short little lifespans.

  3. Lovely titmouse and rooster, too. I used to play guitar and sing, until the arthritis in my hands got so bad. Many of the folksongs I played went back to the 1700s in the US or in the British isles. It gave me a feeling of connection with my ancestors and was the reason why I loved live music, since that was the only kind they had in previous centuries.

    1. I love live music, too, especially troubadours! How wonderful that you were able to play guitar AND sing! (Sadly, I cannot carry a tune or play an instrument, in spite of a couple of years of piano lessons.) My father played guitar and piano, but I guess the gene skipped me by. He said his father made and played his own fiddle in the old country, Ukraine. Timi, do you have any recordings of yourself performing? Do you still sing, even if you can’t play? I’d love a chance to listen to you.

      1. Hi Barbara! There are a couple of short recordings of me singing and playing (first guitar and then folk harp) on my blog at

        https://timitownsend51.org/2018/04/20/greenville-and-she-moved-through-the-faire/

        “Greenville” is a contemporary song, but “She Moved Through the Faire” is a traditional Irish song. The recording quality is not great. And you have to wade through a lot of verbiage to get the the recordings, but you can just scroll down till you find them. I hope you like them! 🙂

        1. I smiled when you used the word “verbiage,” a word my father used often. 🙂

          These are lovely recordings, Timi! I enjoyed listening to your sweet voice, especially in the traditional song with the folk harp. When I was little I fell in love with the concert harp after I saw one being played on TV. (But of course my parents wouldn’t get me one! And they wouldn’t get my sister a horse, either!) I never heard a folk harp until I was an adult and saw and heard one played at the Scotland Connecticut Highland Games. (We have a town named Scotland here in CT.) Listening to those live performances is my favorite part of the fair. I think it’s wonderful you play it so well!

      2. I think that Akismet filtered out my reply because I included a URL to a blog post of mine that had two recordings of me on it. You can find them on my blog. Let Us Live Like We Mean It, and the post, from April 20, 2018, is entitled: “Greenville” and “She Moved Through The Faire”

        “Greenville” is a contemporary song that I do with guitar. “She Moved Through The Faire” is traditional Irish and I play a Celtic folk harp on that one. You have to scroll down through the verbiage to find the recordings. Their quality is not great, because I used a tiny rehearsal microphone. They are just practice recordings.

        Please let me know if you can find them. I hope you enjoy them! 🙂

        1. There’s one other recording on my blog. Once again, it’s my little harp, but I do not sing in this one. It’s a Medieval song.

          The date of the post is February 18, 2018, and the post is entitled “Harp Song: Lament of Tristan.”

          I wish I had re-recorded this one back when I could still play, because it is much too slow! 😛

          1. No problem. Thanks for refreshing my terrible memory! I’m listening to “Lament of Tristan” now. 🙂

        2. Yes, found them! (See above.) Sorry the links triggered Askimet but my son advised me to use that setting for security reasons. (He is my tech expert and keeps my blog up and running, his ongoing gift to me. 🙂 )

  4. I know what you mean about that cat. I’ve seen photos from 150 years ago that were of people in settings so normal that I couldn’t get over it. I’ve wondered if birds chirp more loudly now than they did centuries ago because we have so many machine noises that might interfere with their ability to hear other birds? I mean, in bird world are they yelling now?

    1. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who notices these things! You’ve got me wondering about the volume of bird calls. I grew up in the woods and heard the birds but now I live in a small city, bordering a nature sanctuary, and the birds are LOUD, now that you mention it. Sometimes when I’m video-chatting with the windows open people comment on the birds chirping away outside. Hmmm…

Your thoughts are much appreciated...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.