Blakey is lost

Blakey when he was adopted in August of 2012

Last night in this crazy summer heat, I recommended my daughter Gen take her Indian Ringneck on the back balcony so to take advantage of the cooler air setting in. From our back patio we can see the ocean and a lush thick forest bordering the side of the mountain where this little town is set. The back yard and the surrounding neighborhood looks like a little valley on a distance of a few kilometers in width.

It took two minutes, I asked Blakey for a kiss and Gen took him closer to me. He pulled over, kissed me on the lips. Then as she held him he was startled. I don’t know if I did something wrong. He spread his wings and flew over the balcony – I thought for sure he was going to fly down way below and my stomach started to twist. But then like a small airplane, he flew upward and circled above along with the other birds. We tried calling him – frantically. We were hoping he would simply fly around and settle back, but no he ended up on a distant birch tree. Two hours later he started answering to Gen’s calls. As my eldest daughter and I stood at the bottom of the tree, he flew off and that was it. We haven’t heard of him since.

It was a long and difficult night for Gen and I.We barely slept and by 4 AM we could hear the little baby birds calling out for food from their nests. We got up early hoping Blakey would start his usual little morning conversation since he was out in the open. So far, no news but Gen is sitting in the back calling him gently and offering him food. He’s always starving in the mornings.

There is something to be said for the strength of a sick child. She is so much stronger than anyone else. She is so much more than I will ever be and I say this in a good way because she amazes me and touches the bottom of my heart with her beauty. I often wondered how she could put up with her illness. It’s been nearly eight years and she’s hanging in there regardless of the fact that she has little or no life whatsoever . Now I know that the strength of these children is way greater than what we’ll ever be able to imagine. Getting the bird for her was my way of giving her a life that was worth taking care of. She’s done an amazing job with Blakey. He’s very tame although he wasn’t hand fed as a baby. He speaks many words and sentences. They range from “hello, thank you, good boy, peek a boo, wake up, do you want a cookie, come on, come here” to a whole other bunch he mimics from hearing me rant all day long. She cried a lot last night but quickly pulled herself back together, reasoning everything including me.  Is it the illness keeping her so strong? How does she deal with such awful pain all the time?

I can hear her still calling and offering the many gentle words she uses with him. I’m hoping he’s around somewhere so he can hear her, that he will cry out and that we will be blessed by his return.


Simple genuine pride


Where the clover grows wild (goodies), 2007, oil on canvas, 15″ x 15″ by Darlene Cole

If there were one thing I’d want to change about my childhood, I couldn’t think of any. Not because I was raised in a castle or extravagance but because, while I was growing up, my life was my castle.  Continue reading

Did I mention Cole?

ColeCole is my 5-year-old German Shepherd. There is no feeling like having him sleep on the floor next to my bed every night.

We rescued him when he was barely 3 months old. He was found in the woods along with his identical sister in mid-January. Both dogs were taken to the local university vet hospital and it was assumed they had been kept in a tight cage since birth. It took them a week to learn how to walk.

I love that picture of him because we can really see his gentle and innocent nature. He’s very insecure and dependent, but he’s a wonderful boy.

Did I mention Leigha?

The sleeping Child, Acrylic on canvas 22 x 28 – A painting of Leigha

Leigha is 18 years old. She’s in her second year of nursing at our local college.

She’s the one that often feels left out because of her sister’s medical condition.

But Leigha is smart, very independent, loves to laugh out loud, and very mature for her age. When she was just short of turning 14, she decided to move to her grandmother’s – at a distance of 800 km – to get away from the family situation. Although that was very difficult for me as a mother, I realize it was very grand of her to take control of her life like that.

When Leigha was born, she was the most amazing baby. The memories I hold of her, from the moment I first took her into my arms, are very profound and heartwarming. Being as calm as she was, as a little girl, she would fall asleep anywhere, anytime. I would find her sleeping in the middle of the living room, under a table, or in her highchair. Once, I found her on the rocking chair of her bedroom. I took a photograph of the priceless moment and eventually used it to create my first painting.  I will never forget the feeling of when I traced her little features on the canvas; it took my breath away. I used Golden heavy body acrylics for this piece and applying the many layers of paint remain fresh in my memory to this day. When I have a hard time finding sleep, I visualize applying the transparency of Alizarin Crimson on Leigha’s dress and that is the last thing I remember.