Origin of the Waxwing Symbol

Origin of the Waxwing Symbol

A single, solitary bird made a visitation to our courtyard on December 24, 2010. I noticed it from the window, and it was the first time I recall ever seeing this new visitor. I called Katherine to see if she recognized the most recent avian guest to our redtip photinias in the backyard. She knew almost instantly that it was a Cedar Waxwing. For some reason, I was immediately taken by this bird. It had the tuft of a cardinal and the little “bandit’s mask” around its eyes. This bird, however, had a yellowish belly, with yellow at the tail tip of its wings that looks as if someone mistakenly thought its tail was a paintbrush and dipped it in a bucket of yellow paint. The secondary wings displayed a waxy red coating that I would later come to find out came from the ingestion of red berries in the Waxwing’s diet.

The next morning (Christmas morning), we awakened to snow and the invasion of a museum of waxwings, which had descended upon our Red Tip Photinias to snatch up all our red berries. Katherine had gifted me a camera for Christmas, so I bundled up and found a spot in the patio area where I could capture for posterity the feast-fest that ensued in our courtyard. There were at least three or four dozen waxwings gathered in the trees. They fluttered from limb to limb, disappearing briefly in the snow-covered leaves to emerge with a berry in a snow-bearded beak, sometimes throwing their heads back to gulp down the treasured nourishment.

I can only describe what I witnessed for the next several hours as a spiritual experience. I felt a sense of awe and reverence watching these beautiful creatures do what was natural and common for them. To hear only the fluttering of wings and an occasional high-pitched note, to witness the humorous synchronicity of two Waxwings bobbing for berries, to marvel at their automatic impulse to share berries with one another, fixed a love in my soul for these exquisite creatures. I felt this event as a sacramental offering from the Divine. A moment to stop in my tracks and take in the Holy in the common act of sharing a meal.

Since that first mass visitation, I have come to experience many subsequent encounters and visitations from these awe-inspiring creatures. Many times they have shown up at moments in our lives where we were at a crossroads or needed affirmation of grace or the universal good at work in our lives. This first visitation at Christmas preceded a major change in my life’s profession. Another time was when I needed assurance of support in a difficult moment in my life’s journey. When we came to view the property we currently own, we saw an unusual sight for this time of year. A lone waxwing feather in the backyard along our path as we explored, something we took as an affirmation that this was going to be our new home.

Our avian friends inspire us as we embark on this new adventure in starting our own business. The Waxwing symbolizes for us the need for change and movement to find the nourishment we need in life. Their sense of community and desire to share the fruits of their labor with one another, reflects our desire to engage our creative nature and joy in making something tangible for others to experience. With our creations we hope to bring times of sharing, joy, maybe even a little awe to your lives. We hope you enjoy! 

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