Friday, May 15, 2009

I Think That I Shall Never See . . .

I showed you this dead pecan tree last week. I said that owls once used it as their look-out perch. Another bird is currently using it. Starlings have made a nest in a hollow branch, the lowest one on the left, above. I learned this while sitting under the tree the other evening, minding my own business. Above me was a male starling with something in its mouth. It expressed its impatience as "CHIRP, CHIRP, CHIRP!"  I was getting no peace, so I moved away, and the bird hopped right into the hole in the branch. A moment later, it flew out and a female flew in with more food. The babies, which I could not see, were amazingly smart. They cheeped only when they knew their parent was outside the nest. 

Our tree reminded me of an unusual memorial that I saw in Gettysburg. Take a look. 

Kind of crazy, right? It's a sculpture of a dead, limbless tree trunk, ringed by ivy and symbols of war, including a rucksack, rifle, cannonball, and escutcheon. The trunk itself is supposed to be a symbol of life cut short. But did you notice at the very top? There's a nest with a bird--possibly an eagle--feeding its baby just inches away from the cannonball. Here's a close-up.

I'm sure there's a book somewhere that will explain in great detail the specific symbolism of the bird and the tree. It's an old story, though: life persists in spite of death. It was true at Gettysburg, and it's true at Dog Park. 

PS: Erica (Joey and Coco) told me of another Gettysburg connection to Dog Park. Her great- grandfather was the artist commissioned to design the half-dollar coin stamped in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. His name was Frank Vittor. Here is what the coin looked like. 

You can read more about Erica's great-grandfather, the coin, and the Battle of Gettysburg at this address:,
which is where I found the image. 


1 comment:

  1. The starlings that are nesting in my roof are right above my office window so I see the parent birds flying back and forth all day with fat caterpillars, worms, and other insects. The cheeping is driving Cocoa crazy!

    So cool that the coin coincidence came up. My mom said she was going to call grandma tomorrow and ask her more about it. Mom remembers seeing a plaster model of the two soldiers at one time. Will keep you posted!


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