Sep 14, 2008

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Farewell to a Friend –Willie D Mtumbo

Our parrot, Willie Dkembe Mtumbo, age 18 died last week. 

It appeared he flew into a wall or window.  The dogs were chasing him and that often is part of the morning routine at our house  but we were all upstairs and it was my daughter who discovered our springer spaniel, Patsy, with  bird in mouth standing at the base of the steps.   It was sudden and since there was no gut wrenching squawk or unusual comotion, we are sticking to the “Willie made a wrong turn” theory.  Dorry initially felt responsible and guilty.  We  buried him immediately – Dorry wrapped him in a Tibetan blue and purple silk and covered that with chakra stones and 2 angel tokens.  We put him on our hillside and held a ceremony for him later in the week.  Losing a pet always brings up stuff.  For me it is mostly memories, all good.  We had Wille for nearly 17 years which means after Dorry, he is the living thing with whom I lived under the same roof with for the  longest period of time, yes that includes my immediate family, I was long gone by 17. 

He had a lot of life with us.  He lived with us in Brooklyn, New York City, and out in NJ.  He went on summer vacations with us to Cape Cod and had to cope with moving down the pecking order frst when our daughter Orli arrived and then our dogs, DJ and Patsy.  I remember my gradfather sitting by his cage at our Brownstone in Brooklyn, pretending to talk to him but really just using Willie as cover to lean down into the liquor cabinet and pour himself a shot of scotch.


           Dorry said that  in his passing he reminded us of how relationships grow and change – that love expresses itself differently throughout the years — and although she felt she  didn’t give him the same attention with all the additions to our household,  we honored his spirit by refusing to clip his wings and leaving his cage open so he could fly around the house and perch himself atop the refrigerator or on the heads of guests.  He loved grooming eye brows for those who were brave enough not to flinch.  

 After he was buried, Dorry witnessed the most amazing thing:

She was sitting in the kitchen and heard a whir – as if the wind was building up or it was going to rain – she thought the weather was shifting and maybe a storm was brewing.  The whir passed the window – and she went to look – and it was hundreds —possibly thousands of birds – sparrows or swallowtails that flew past the window and all landed on the trees by Willie’s grave.  We have an overgrown Christmas tree farm so there are plenty of trees they could have landed but ther they were right across from Willie’s grave or on the trees right above.  They stayed for maybe 5 minutes – and then some started to take off.  Then all of a sudden –the whir again and they circled Willie’s grave 2x and came from all directions and took off in the opposite direction from which they came.  In 14 years of living here we’d never seen anything like that on our property. 

It truly felt like Willie was given the bird equivalent of a military salute.   The universe is funny like that.

Rest well Willie.

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