I am a magpie. A collector of pretty things, shiny objects, keepsakes and knick-knacks. Pieces that hold meaning, quirky gems that caught my eye on my travels; at the beach, in the forest, on the road. The beautiful and unique detritus of Mother Nature.
Beside my bed is a falcon feather, it floated on the breeze one Summer’s day as I walked the country road. It’s pure white shaft dappled with ochre markings. It sits in a gilt shot glass, soft and so light to touch. A finger width away lies a pile of semi precious stones and crystals, catching the sunlight, within easy grasp. Sometimes when I am propped up on pillows, reading or scribbling, I rattle them in my palm like rune stones.
In the pocket of my jacket are five objects, four pebbles of differing size and colour, a russet and gold beauty, the smoothest piece of white marble, an oblong, grey piece of stone shaped like a tiny foot, a yellow rock that sparkles in the light, and a shard of white sea glass. It comforts me to feel them as I walk, rolling one over the other always searching for others. Soon as their number increases I will transfer them to a little clay pot I keep in the bathroom thus creating space for the collection of more.
I believe these objects were left for me, little earthly signs of my connection lying along the seashore, shining in the grass by the hedgerow, in the shadow of a beech in the forest, or simply amongst the stones on the surface of the road. There is so much joy in their serendipitous placement.
I have always been a collector. My shelves and surfaces contain marble eggs, pieces of pretty pottery, brightly glazed, candles in all the colours of the sea, fossils I picked on the seashore as a child, a rattle snake’s rattle (ancient and paper thin), once shiny conkers and acorns still in their pretty hats.
And I have been gifted the most beautiful objects from those who know me well; a pretty china cup from my daughter sits on my dressing table, a heart carved from two thousand-year-old bog oak with care that fits in my hand and is smooth as butter to touch, from my boyfriend. A framed piece of stained glass sprinkles the worksurface with greens, reds and blues as the morning light passes through, crafted by an acquaintance. In the bathroom is a wonderful jellyfish batik from my best friend, a talented artist whose resin and glass painted pieces hang on many walls.
There is as much pleasure for me in the touch of a smooth stone taken from a beach in County Clare, as there is at the sight of a bunch of bright daffodils in my vase, the glaze as deep blue as the Atlantic on a cloudless day.
And on a dark, angry-skied day in March, these trinkets and small treasures bring a peace and inner happiness that is tangible. And I am grateful for the magpie in me that feathers my nest with such beauty.
Be well, stay safe, my friends.