by Rose Jermusyk.
Mother Thrush had four daughters; Fair, Proud, Trembling, and Loud. Fair was a clever creature who happily left the nest with no intention of turning back, except to smile to her mother. Proud took great strides to stand on her own when she left the nest, and often sang to her mother. Trembling – however – could not bring herself to leave the nest even as the youngest sister Loud quite stormed from the nest, continually singing for all to hear.
While her sisters had been able to just do it, to just leave the nest and start new lives of their own making, Trembling knew she could not do so without seeing where she might land.
One day, Trembling heard a constellation of starlings chipper-chittering among themselves in a maidenhair tree not too far from Mother Thrush’s nest. The sound of them filled Trembling with longing to live among them in the maidenhair tree.
“Have you room for a thrush?” she cried, but they answered none.
“Room for a nightingale?” she tried, but they answered none.
“Am I not Philomel?” she sighed as she lighted on a branch of the maidenhair tree where they might see her better. Being face-to-face with one so in need of freedom and companionship, the starlings felt they loved Trembling at once.
She was most happily welcomed, and most happily lived often singing when there was no reason. The starlings were marvelously kind and showed her how to live among them.
Still, Trembling was Trembling. No matter how she ruffled her feathers, she could not shake the uneasy feeling that came to her in the stillness between the songs.
Sometimes, she sang to hide from it. Often, she tried to befriend it as a part of growing up. Mostly, she held quite still.
In time, the stillness grew as all fires grow by consuming whatever is in reach, however small. Her songs were the first to perish. Next, that little wisp of wind that follows each bird to help them fly. With her little wisp gone, Mother Thrush was called upon to take Trembling back to the nest.
With nothing else in reach, the stillness went after Trembling’s heart. No one knew til it was too late.
The starlings all wanted to kiss Trembling goodbye; but, Trembling’s heart was on fire for fear of the future and their tender touch – so refreshing sweet – too quickly cooled her heart.
“Name the day,” she cried as her heart quite burst within her breast, and they named it Sorrow. Under the maidenhair tree was she buried, and forget-me-nots did grow.