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The Red-Winged Blackbird

I Remember a Red-Winged Blackbird!

When I was in my early teens we lived at a crossroads. You could go five miles west to one town, three miles north to a second town or six miles east to a third town. In other words I lived in the center of nowhere. During the spring and summer one of my favorite pastimes was to walk the mile to the Cocklebur ditch and go fishing or just hang out. We were poor farm laborers and other than raising chickens to eat, which we raised from the egg, the fish I caught in the ditch was about the only meat available unless I could trap or shoot a rabbit once in a while. My mother saw my trips to the Cocklebur ditch as adding to our diet so they were very welcomed.

One spring day as I was walking along the side of the highway I noticed this Red-Winged Blackbird. How can you keep from noticing something that flies over you and then continues to hover over you as you walk along. This type of bird will try to attract your attention to itself so you won’t notice its nest. Now I had grown up with this type of bird around every summer so there was nothing exceptional about this particular one except that I noticed that it had a feather missing from its right wing leaving a very noticeable space when it would hovered over me as I walked along. The bird had nothing to fear from me since we didn’t eat black birds and we definitely didn’t eat their eggs. All spring and summer I observed this particular bird because of the space in its wing as it would hover over me as I walked along. It wasn’t the only Red-Winged Blackbird that lived along that stretch of road but all of the rest of them looked alike with nothing to distinguish one from another. He was very distinctive because of the feather missing from his wing. This type of bird is migratory so when late fall and winter came I continued my walk to the ditch to fish but there was no Red-Winged Blackbird to keep me company on my walk.

The next spring was a carbon copy to the last one for me. I guess when you look back after more than fifty five years they all really seem to be very much the same except for those few outstanding occurrences that cause you to remember a particular time. The astonishing thing that creates this memory for me was that my Red-Winged Blackbird was back the next year. Nesting in the same little tree, in the same spot, I know because the same feather was still missing from the same wing. This sent me to the library to discover that migratory birds generally return to the same place each year. However I had thought that if you pulled a feather out of a birds wing it would grow back. My Mom informed me that was generally true unless the feather socket is damaged. She had experienced this with the chickens she had raised. So I knew I had the same Red-Winged Blackbird and it seemed very special to me that the same bird would fly over me all spring and summer each year. It seemed almost like every time I walked to the Cocklebur ditch I would be met by a friend.

Eventually the bird didn’t return. Your guess of what happened to it is as good as mine, but each year I would look for it as spring began. It was my friend for four or five seasons. To me it is one of those memories which reminds me of the slow easy times of spring and summer, walking along in my own world as I headed for my favorite pastime, fishing. It dates that particular period in my life and gives me a nail to hang my memories on.

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The Red-Winged Blackbird by 


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  • yorkylass
    yorkylassover 6 years ago

    What a wonderful story…i bet you missed your friend that spring when he/she didn’t arrive to greet you on your walk…i know i would have.

  • BarbL
    BarbLover 6 years ago

    Lovely story, Byron….we all seem to have those memories and once in a while something triggers us to sit back and enjoy the trip down memory lane.

  • Ushna Sardar
    Ushna Sardarover 6 years ago

    awesome story barnsis! well done huggles

  • Wanda Raines
    Wanda Rainesover 6 years ago

    This is a beautiful story you have written. It as almost make me sad knowing that the bird didn’t show up that Spring. What a beautiful memory to have and to have live it. I can see the bird flying all around you as you tell the story.

  • You know it is funny but just today as I was getting ready to tee off on the 14 hole at golf a redwing blackbird landed about 10 feet from me and I remembered my friend from long ago, funny how the mind works.

    – barnsis

  • Enivea
    Eniveaover 6 years ago

    I look forward to more of your stories :-))

  • Thank you, I actually have several others but haven’t posted them since there seems to be very little interest in written works.

    – barnsis

  • Enivea
    Eniveaover 6 years ago

    Well you sure have a reader here !

  • Eyeleen
    Eyeleenover 6 years ago

    Wonderful story of a special time in your life that has been burned into your mind and heart!! Love it!

  • babybird1937
    babybird1937about 6 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories!

  • Thank you so much, and thanks fot the favorite.

    – barnsis

  • joyousmoon
    joyousmoonover 5 years ago

    Great story! Thanks for sharing the memory!

  • RosaCobos
    RosaCobosover 4 years ago

    And such nice they are..your memories…
    True…that any other soul…a human pang, a human hold..would have left such an imaginative stance…it is wonderful in what way it did, this presence, open your intelect as well as your consciousness for your precious growing being. There are questions that you did ….and you receveid the answer just as sometimes they came….with perseverance, love and a patient waiting One can ask something about anyone…about life..but it can me too a mere itching that is easily satisfied….but when you are asking for a deeper question, related to Life..then….you wait…and wait with open eyes and calm soul, for eventually it will come too.
    I love to read your stories..and wait for them. Each one is different and constitute not just a memory of a grown up with a shade of “malencholy” for the old days..but a true living energy that has not changed and is showing you the essence of your own.

  • You humble me with your comment. I understand what you are telling me but I just see me as me, nothing special. Thank you sincerely. I guess my insatiable “need to know” started back then and has never gone away. Rare is the day when I don’t search the internet or in books for some kind of information about something that has peaked my curiosity.

    – barnsis

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