"Flit" the Chickadee
For our daughter Sarah's third birthday (December 1976) I wrote her a little short story. I recently found it tucked inside the back of my Journal for that year. Aaron, our son, was 1½ years old at the time.
Now, over 36 years later, I want to change some of the words, but I offer it here, in its original form, exactly as I wrote it in 1976. So, read it as if you were reading aloud to a three-year-old. Or a five, seven, or nine-year-old:
Once there was a little chickadee who lived in the woods near a little girl's house. This chickadee's name was Flit. Flit was a happy little bird because there were many good things to eat in the woods, and in the fields around his home.
Flit had fun all summer long flying from tree to tree, searching for small insects to eat. One day Flit noticed that the leaves were starting to change color. But the most surprising thing that happened was that Flit's feathers started getting thicker.
Flit did not worry about the cooler days and the falling leaves, because he knew that his feathers would keep him warm, and there were plenty of seeds to eat from all those weeds in the fields.
"Come over by me, and I'll share my seeds. There are enough seeds to feed all of us."
So they ate seeds in the morning and they ate seeds in the evening, and all of Flit's friends were happy because they had lots of food.
One night when Flit was going to sleep he noticed that it was getting much colder than he was used to; so he fluffed his feathers up and tucked his head down into his warm feathers and fell asleep.
Flit thought that the snow was beautiful, and it certainly changed the looks of the woods and all the land around his home.
But Flit was worried about the snow covering all the weeds that he ate seeds from, and was afraid that he would starve if he couldn't find enough to eat.
The next day it snowed a lot more, and all the places where he used to find seeds were hidden under the deep, deep snow.
Flit was worried and hungry and didn't know what to do about finding some food. Then his friend Flash flew by and called to him, "Come fly with me Flit. Let's go to the little girl's house today. I want to show you a surprise!"
So Flit and Flash flew fast through the forest, and finally found the little girl's house. Flash said, "See that tiny house hanging from that tree in their yard?"
"Yes I do," said Flit, "what is it?"
"It's called a bird feeder," said Flash, "and the little girl just put a surprise inside it for us. Come along, I'll show you."
When Flit saw what was in the feeder, he couldn't believe his eyes! It was filled with all kinds of delicious seeds. Flit and Flash began to feed on the seed and they both ate enough to fill their empty stomachs.
Flit was so happy for all the food, that he sang joyfully to the little girl who gave him the seed. He flew from tree to tree around the little girl's house singing, "Chickadee, chicka dee-dee-dee."
The little girl looked out the window and saw Flit flying around her house and eating the good seed that she gave them.
This made the little girl happy to see all the birds happy, so she always kept seed in the bird feeder, and smiled when Flit flew near her window.
Every day Flit went to see the little girl and sing her a special thank-you song:
I want to give a special thank you to our good friends and former neighbors in Cascade:
Ann Marie Cunningham, and her 99-year-old mother, Clara Cunningham. They were both gracious and helpful in letting me photograph their Chickadees.
Right across the split rail fence from Cunningham's feeders I saw our former house, where we raised our children, where we spent 27 years of our life, where Sarah and Aaron played outside nearly every day, in every season.
While I was photographing, I kept looking over my shoulder at our old house; so little, but so full of love. I thought of the all good times I had playing and exploring outdoors with my kids back in those days when they were so young. I think of how much time has passed. The word cherish comes to mind. The reality of change. And always gratitude to God for the gift of days.
Sarah, this one is for you. I love you Sarah.
I miss you Aaron.
Listen to the recording of three songs, and the "chickadee-dee-dee" call: