31 December 2019

58. The Bird Who Saved Christmas

I usually love Christmas. This year there’s been a smoke cloud over the season to be jolly. Bushfires on or near our farm meant I didn’t look forward to the day; no cooking or decorating either. Instead, I worried and made myself miserable. The Christmas spirit never hit.
2019 is the first year we didn’t pick out and cut down a tall pine tree from the forest next to our house to bring inside and decorate. No Christmas tree. 

Thousands of LED fairy lights that usually flash from our eaves weren’t switched on. 

My husband was too busy fighting bushfires, making sure we didn’t lose our home or too much property. 

I was too busy fretting about him doing that to do much else.
My daughter went to Europe by herself last September, arranging her own tour. She saw a guy glass-blowing, making tree decorations at Berlin Christmas markets. 

He’d made clear glass hummingbirds, which she thought too plain. She asked him to make a coloured bird she could pick up the next night, and he did.
My daughter worried the little hummer wouldn’t make it back to Australia without breaking, but it did.
On Christmas Day I was given a hummingbird. It’s beautiful. Like the other real or man-made birds in my life, I instantly felt better by looking at it.

The bird dangles from a down-light in the dining room. When the air-conditioner is on, the hummer spins slowly. The glass shines with the light that streams through the windows.

I didn’t expect to be happy at Christmas, not when all my waking thoughts were about bushfires burning close by. Overwhelmed by stress, I’ve been fretting about a husband working to contain multiple fires in 12 hour day shifts, then going back out at night to check again. 

I’ve been obsessed with a fire that doubled in size each day. Watching that sinister red glow from the mountain top for weeks made it hard not to feel threatened.
Once I had that piece of glass in my hand, I felt calm hope; more settled, immersed in family love.
Since then, I’ve noticed how I have birds everywhere in the house.

Plaster and paper birds.

Metallic birds.


Porcelain birds, some studded with cheap glass sparkles.


There are little old birds with broken beaks or broken tails that I keep though theyre imperfect. 


There are a lot of bird knick-knacks.

But there are real birds inside as well.

These are my 2 Budgerigars, a male called Grey, (believe me, he has 50 shades) and a female called Blue. They are characters and chirp all day, trying to communicate with birds outside. I don’t let them out of their cage now they’ve turned 7.  They’re probably on their last legs in old age, but still spend tonnes of time kissing and preening each other. 

Outside, I have free range peacocks that look pretty in the garden. 

Then I have regular birds that visit the feeder and birdbath each day.


Welcome Swallows 



                                            Australian Magpies

Willie Wagtails




Cockatoos and more.

These birds are always there, part of our home.

A home I’m grateful wasn’t taken by bushfire this month.

These photos of my house were taken 8 months into the current drought, in Easter 2017. 

We still had a smooth green lawn. 

Tomorrow and all the tomorrows of the next decade, I’d really like to get some green grass and flowers back in the garden. 

For the birds and me. 

 I have had enough of fires and drought to last the next 5 decades.

There’s a hummingbird hanging from the ceiling. 
It isnt a real bird, but it captures the light and captured my heart. 

My favourite gift, it shines like a symbol of hope for a good new year.

May 2020 bring better, milder, greener, wetter, less fiery times ahead. 


  1. Thanks for sharing your Blog of hope through the images of joyful birds. Hope 2020 is a much better year for you.
    Take care, Karen

    1. Thank you Karen, Happy New Year of writing and publishing for you.

  2. Lovely! Thanks for sharing this inspirational glimpse of your life. Blessings for 2020.

    1. Thank you for reading, may you have a wonderful 2020 too Anne.

  3. Thank you Therese for such an inspiring account of your life with the horrors of the fires and the beauty of the birds. It brought tears to my eyes. I pray that the fires and droughts are over and wish you and your family much joy and happiness for 2020. Keep safe. God bless you all.

    1. Thank you Mary, I hope the fires don't reach you so far inland in Victoria. They have spread too far around this dry old Australia already this summer as it is. Stay well and stay safe, love Therese.