Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ireland #2: Two is For Joy

There is a saying about magpies - the black and white, scrappy-looking scavenger bird that crosses your path randomly in Ireland. Nanny used to say it and my mother repeated it and I had it completely memorized as a teenager. It runs through my head - in my mother's voice - every time I spot one flying in front of the car or swooping from one tree to the next:

One is for sorrow, Two is for joy
Three for a girl, And four for a boy,
Five is for silver, Six is for gold,
Seven for a secret never to be told.

As my family sits in the living room, drinking tea and catching up, I feel myself zoning out, my mind wandering to the usual places its been going lately - to loss, sadness, so many other things. I cannot focus. Instead of appearing preoccupied, I drift off to the kitchen to do some dishes. To make myself useful. I look out the window. From a tree flies one magpie. One is for sorrow. My mind wanders further. For sorrow. So much sorrow. A word that cannot even describe, yet is so gentle and kind, and in a strange way, a bit perfect.

I feel the tears in my eyes; despite the perfect word, I am just too consumed by what it means. There has been too much sorrow lately, and sometimes I find it difficult to come back up out of it once I start drifting. I'm trying consciously to hold it together and calm down, so I lift my face to the sun that is struggling to push through the clouds and magically, as a beautiful reminder, a second black and white bird appears. A magpie. And I remember: Two is for joy.

For joy.


Lauren said...

Oh Reem. This is so beautiful. YOU are so beautiful.

SophisticatedBrew said...

Lauren said it perfectly.