The Wake-up Call

Flicker Feathers

This will be a long post, so grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, depending on your time zone or your tendencies.

Sunday morning I was awakened by the thumping of a flicker on the side of my house. I had actually woken up about an hour earlier and then dozed off while musing over what to post that day, so when the flicker drummed me awake I thought, hmmm, maybe this bird is trying to tell me something. There is a lot of symbolism surrounding the flicker, primarily spiritual, emotional and creative change. (This according to “Animal Speak” by Ted Andrews.)

And this is not first time I’ve had this bird fly into my consciousness. Flickers are common in my neighborhood as we have a good mix of tall trees and green lawns. I’ve had them come very close to me while I was working in the garden, and they are often calling, chattering, or drumming in the nearby trees. Perhaps the most interesting encounter was finding five tiny feathers, no more than an inch long, laid out in a neat fan on my porch one morning.

Suffice it to say that, with all this contact with the flicker, I am no stranger to change, even if I am brought to it kicking and screaming. I am actively involved in trying to change my life on several levels. That is part of what this blog is for. Flicker was just reminding me.

Either that or he was telling me I’ve got bugs in the side of my house. Then again, maybe it’s all the same.

We have wooden siding, and not particularly high quality stuff. There are splits and knot holes. Lovely places for bugs to get in, and for flickers to get breakfast. I’ve known this for quite some time, but I don’t have the expertise to fix it myself nor the finances to have somebody else do it. So I bide my time and hope that the situation doesn’t reach a crisis before I can deal with it.

And this is where change comes in. Do you have habits that get in the way of your creativity; or even worse, your health? I do. These may be things that we are hoping will just go away. It can’t be that bad. I mean, I still get some work done. Right?

We, my friends, have bugs in our houses. And even if we call the exterminators, what made the walls susceptible to bugs will still be there. Don’t get rid of the bugs; fix the house.

The painting is watercolor on Fabriano hot-press paper. It was an interesting exercise in using multiple layers of paint in different techniques, all the way from wet-on-wet to dry brush. I did most of it in about two hours, trying to work quickly. After all, I only made it as a header for this post. But I like it and I hope you do too.



5 comments on “The Wake-up Call

  1. Rick Thomas says:

    Hey – I come by here pretty regular to see what’s new. I have stopped and re-read this particular post at least 5 times. I am first struck by the beauty of the feathers, Then by the clarity of the story. Nice job! A blog you might like is:
    I guess I’ll make a shameless plug for my blog – the eclectic project manager –

  2. janisth says:

    Have you heard of Brian Selznick? He wrote the book that inspired the recent movie, Hugo, directed by Scorsezi; the book is called The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It is beautifully illustrated throughout. Selznick’s web site is at I was just reading about him. You might find it interesting.

  3. janisth says:

    I LOVE this. I can relate to your attraction to flickers, and their unique qualities. Very nice work, Kevin. You inspire me.

  4. Mary McKenzie says:

    The fact that the obvious beauty and sometimes ironic simplicity of your life seems to escape you so often can sometimes utterly amaze me. You live a life quite filled with wonder. One day you will truly awaken to this, and when you do, you’ll really understand what you’re meant to do….or it could just be that the bugs have just driven you mad and you don’t know it yet. It probably doesn’t matter anyway!

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