At first, I thought I'd be content taking a few pictures this weekend through my parent's family room window. After all, it was much warmer in the house and I wasn't at all eager to stand outside in the cold just to take a few photographs. But, as normal, the excitement of the bird activity at the feeders overtook me. I had to get outside to take some better pictures but first, I had to select a location that was more presentable than the feeder itself. About 20 feet from the feeder, my mom has a cement bench and on it sits a cement angel. The spot seemed perfect so I baited it with seed and almost instantly, the angel became a hub of bird activity. At the time, I had no clue why this spot would be so special.
After about 20 minutes, I went outside and sat near the angel in hopes that any bird would find my presence a non-issue. A few stopped briefly but the only bird willing to do any type of pose for me was a Tree Sparrow. I was shunned by most others so I decided I would take advantage of this particular bird's willingness to be photographed and took several shots. I then waited a little longer only to find myself staring contently at the angel on the bench. The angel was sad and so was I. I took a picture of the angel not knowing what I would ever do with the picture. The picture had a purpose.
I received the news later that night from my friend Derek that our friend from High School, Shelly Shepherd died earlier in the day after a short battle - I, unfortunately, had not clue she was sick.
Shelly was one of few people on earth that could make you laugh with the least effort. She was outspoken, funny, and a great spirit. Just knowing that I can call her a friend is a gift that I will never forfeit. Our paths didn't cross as often as I now wish they had but when they did, I always walked away smiling and was always glad we were friends. I always knew, always had faith that if I needed Shelly, she would be there.
Now I know. I know why I picked the area I did for the pictures, I know why the Tree Sparrow posed, and I know for sure why the angel was sad. Shelly, "his eye is on the sparrow" and I will never look at a Tree Sparrow the same. This bird now holds the memory of one the greatest people I have ever know. Rest in Peace my friend.
Shelly Shepherd, June 1976 - December 2010.