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Bird Houses as a metaphor? – Walla Walla Artisan Creation

December 15, 2010

Back in her college years, our daughter, Carolyn, created a whole “flock” of bird houses to sell at the Walla Walla Farmer’s Market.  She is a REALLY hard-worker and she was working at two jobs to help pay her way through college.  She was also building bird houses during her lunch hour at  her day job.

If my memory serves me right, at 5:30 am Carolyn would ride her bicycle three miles across town to tend to the flowers that she had planted in huge containers at the Southeastern Washington Fairgrounds (in Walla Walla).  She would then ride three miles back to work at her job at Whitman College.

Somehow Carolyn arranged to have Saturday (morning at least) off from her jobs and we would set-up and sell her bird houses at the WW Farmer’s Market.  She sold enough bird houses to make a contribution to her annual college finances.

By 2008, Carolyn had:  graduated from Wittenberg University, done a year of volunteer work in Washington D.C., completed her course work for a Master’s degree from Georgetown University, won a Fulbright Scholarship and was off to Bulgaria.  She is currently in her third year in Bulgaria and is teaching English at the American College of Sofia.

What does this have to do with the bird houses that you can find at Shady Lawn Antiques?  Not so much – but a lot!  Last winter, Carolyn created a whole new “flock” of bird houses and we still have a few left.  I mentioned that I was going to write about her bird houses and asked her what her approach would be.

I need to digress a bit here and say that Carolyn has become a bit of a “professional” blogger.  She has been writing a blog about her life in Bulgaria for three years:  “Karolinka in and around Bulgaria”.   Matador Abroad recently named Carolyn’s blog as one of the top twenty expatriate blogs (scroll down to number 7).  So Carolyn (Karolinka in Bulgarian) knows a thing or two about writing blogs and perhaps I should listen to her suggestions.

Her take was that I should write about how her bird houses can bring a certain cheer to people.  The charm and whimsy of something that is not quite perfect, but is uniquely individual, can bring a smile to your face.  Oh that’s a cute bird house – look the roof is made out of a license plate.  Did you notice that the perch is a bent spoon and that the finial is a bent fork?

Is that a bent fork finial at the top of the bird house?

My take is that building bird houses may be a bit of a metaphor for Carolyn’s life.  She took some apparently random reclaimed materials:  barn and fence boards, license plates, silverware, glue, screws and nails and created something of value out of them – birdhouses.  Just as she took some random jobs:  working at a fruit stand, house sitting, tending flowers at the fairgrounds, working summer programs at Whitman, working as an RA at Wittenberg, selling birdhouses to obtain something of value – a college education.

Carolyn is well beyond those bird house building/college student days. However just as her current wide variety of endeavors and accomplishments make Jill and me smile – the bird houses will make you smile!

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