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Janice bisset
Site Owner
Posts: 43


The day of Pajarita’s liberation came without commotion. An ordinary day full of worries and wishes; an itchy day of discontent but with enough music to make it bearable: the whole world hummed.

Pajarita had been walking forever; she looked at her dusty feet, then her wings.

Her wings were a burden; they gave her a false sense of pride. "Such pretty feathers." She thought. She made them fan and she peeked demurely through their silver shadows.

"Who am I kidding?" She said to herself, disgusted and weary from hope. "These things are useless. Inutil."

“Yes,” She thought. “This day is as dull as dust. Mas de nada, de nada, de nada.

But wait a minute; one thing was different:

There appeared to be a fork in a road that had previously been one narrow dirt road.

"I never noticed two ways." She said.

Both roads looked a little pretty and a little ugly. Both had crooked houses: pink, turquoise, adobe. Both had bright white shirts and patched pants that flapped and chattered in the crisp language of clothes on the line.

Yet there was a discernible fork and one road was not the other. One road led to something peaceful and fantastic; the other, El Camino Muertos. The dilemma was that she didn't know which was which.

Pajarita was not impressed. “As if I didn’t have enough to worry about.” She muttered. “Stupid road.”

She hated the way the ground beneath her feet was always changing, always rearranging things; the sky could not keep up and Pobre Pajarita, poor Little Bird, could not keep up with it either. She was just like the clouds, always chasing or being chased by a sense of urgency she couldn't understand, some incontestable, untamed force

Pajarita rubbed her eyes; she had heard all about mirage and thought this change in the road was some kind of illusion, some delusion brought on by looking too far ahead.

“True” She thought, “The ground is shifty, but never before has it made two roads from one.”

So she looked at her feet, placing one in front of the other on an invisible tightrope. “This way I will know exactly where the road parts; I will know for a fact whether or not I can believe what I see. This way I know I will choose the right way. If,” She added. “If there is such a thing.”

Suddenly she was distracted by a familiar but not quit familiar sound.

She thought she heard the pleasant rasp and creak, rasp and creak of Abuela in her rocking chair; the baby Abuela held in her arms cooed and every dove in heaven above and on the precious earth responded. Including Pajarita.

Grandmother, Abuela! Where are you? I look into the window—the one with the lace curtain, so pretty in the sun. But you are not there. I look in the pink houses, the turquoise houses, the adobe, but you are not there.”

“Ooooo” Pajarita cooed. “Ooooo, Mi Lila, Where are you?”

A breeze threw its purple shadows here and there, fragrant shade, sympathetic and offering the only comfort it could offer. The willow tree invited Pajarita into her lap. “Venir aquí pequeña. Venir aquí.

And Pajarita ran, forgetting the invisible tightrope. She ran and wrapped angry arms around the Willow and she wept angry tears until they were nothing but salt. The willow knew what to do with a grieving bird’s tears; she had been saving a jar for this very occasion.

Willow caught every single tear; not one fell into the shifty earth. They went

ting******* ting******* ting as they fell into the jar

She sang as she studied the shape and sheen of each tear and then tucked the polished jar full of secrets deep into Pajarita’s wilted feathers. Pajarita wiggled her toes in her sleep.

 “Arru, arru. ShahhShahhShahh. ShahhShahhShahh. ShahhShahhShahh.”

A la puerta del cielo

Venden zapatos

Para los angelitas

Que andan descalzos

Duérmete niña

Duérmete niña

Duérmete niña

Arrú arrú

A los niñas que duermen

Dios los bendice

A las madres que velan

Dios las asiste

Duérmete niña

Duérmete niña

Duérmete niña

Arrú arrú

Wake up!

Chacha was too curious to be a dog; she should have been a cat. She was the size of a cat, and aloof too, to everyone except Pajarita whose nose she was nuzzling.

Pajarita opened her eyes and the happy Chihuahua

yipped and danced to see her companion awake.

But Pajarita sat up too suddenly and when she did the whole blue sky tumbled over on its side; the tree fell too but was limber enough to regain its balance with a gusty heave-up.

“No!” Pajarita groaned. “No! No! No!”

She looked at the road and could no longer discern where one separated from the other. She didn’t know which road she’d taken. Was this the happy road or el Camino de la Muerte?

The houses looked like they were keeping secrets, their windows were too wide open like someone feigning innocence; their doors were shut.

“What should we do, Chacha? Hmmm? What should we do?” Pajarita scratched the little dog’s neck.

At that very moment a peacock's scream pierced and tore the fabric of time and space: day was separated from night: it was evening. And evening was as soft as silk, a silk scarf with one or two or three stars.

Pope Francis said,“The kingdom of God does not come in a way that attracts attention.” And Abuela added, "But that doesn't mean nothing interesting happens.

Pajarita skipped when there was grass under her bare feet , walked on tiptoes where the rocks were sharp ,but as soon as she reached the garden, she began to dance.

The garden was really just an alley behind her house, a place for the dumpsters. But so many people grew their tomatoes, peppers and carnations there, and there were fences made from heaps of dark green honeysuckle vines and trellises of sweet pea and roses too. So nobody in their right mind would dismiss the place as just an alley.

Pajarita danced, whirling twilight above her head till she reached the porch; before she went inside she made a wish and with both hands she tossed the silky remnant behind her the way a bride tosses her bouquet. Of course the sky caught it, just in time to wrap it ‘round the moon. The sky said, “Oh, Luz, you look so lovely tonight.” And the moon replied, “Oh thank you; you are very handsome too.” This always made Pajarita laugh because they said the same words to one another every single evening and they always seemed to mean it.

That night, Pajarita was tucked into bed and Chacha was right beside her. She could see the sky and the moon from her window. It made her miss Abuela and her grandfather so much, almost more than she could bear.

Then, even though Pajarita had not made a sound, her mother came to pull the covers up, to make sure her little bird had a good nest.

Sometimes a mother knows when her baby is in distress even if her baby’s sorrow is the kind that does not lend itself to the luxury of language.

Chacha wagged her little tail and snuggled closer to Pajarita.

Her mother sat on the side of the bed, her hand smoothing the worries out of Pajarita’s forehead.

“You know what Abuela would do on a night like this?” Mother said.

Pajarita smiled and with her mother sang the tune they both knew by heart.

Thank you, God for the moonlight,

thank you , God, for the sky,

thank you God for the stars

that twinkle twinkle twinkle

in my true love’s eyes.

Good night moon light,

good night sky,

good night stars

that twinkle twinkle twinkle

in my true love’s eyes.

Duermete nina, Arru arru, ,

all of heaven loves you and I do too.

Pajarita slept and dreamed and slept and dreamed and when she rolled over, Chacha rolled over too.

When she was rolling over for the last snuggle a little polished jar or tears rolled onto her pillow from deep within her silvery feathers. The sun who was just beginning to rise saw it, picked it up and rolled it ‘round in his rays He said, “I know just what to do.” And he took the little bottle and gave it to Abuela who was rocking babies in heaven.

Abuela’s eyes lit up and she said, “Yes, yes, I have been expecting these.”

When Pajarita opened her eyes, Chacha, who had been awake for a long time pretended she was just waking up too. But truthfully she was very excited and couldn’t wait to show her companion the surprise.

There on Pajarita’s pillow was a little, tiny rosary made out of the most astonishing beads she had ever seen. And right beside it was a bouquet of lilacs.

Pajarita made the sign of the cross and began to pray the rosary the way Abuela had taught her.

At that very moment the bells of St Helen’s began to ring

. Mind you, they had not made a sound in years, but that is another story


Of course, Pajarita wasn't really saying the rosary the way Abuela did. It was more like this:

She squinted her eyes, held the beads close to her lips and hummed because that is what it sounded like when Abuela prayed. And truth be told, it wasn't even a rosary. It was a necklace with a locket. The outside was engraved with The Immaculate Heart of Mary on one side and the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the other. Pajarita didn't know there was an inside; she had never seen a locket.

She buried her face in the lilacs and inhaled, "Mi Lila."

Then she screamed and jumped out of bed tossing poor ChaCha to the floor.

"Mama! Mama! Look!" She ran to the kitchen. "Mama! Look! Mira!" She ran to the bedroom.

"I'm out here. What are you yelling about? You are going to wake the radishes!"

When her mother saw Jajarita in the doorway and holding up the little necklace and bouquet of lilacs she dropped the clean laundry right on the ground.



"May you find some comfort here."

November 27, 2013 at 10:04 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Janice bisset
Site Owner
Posts: 43

When it Rains

A very loud clap of thunder shook all the pink, turquoise and adobe houses. But it shook the green one especially hard.

Or it might not have been thunder, but someone knocking, no, someone banging on the front door.

No, no, no; Pajarita laughed. She knew exactly what it was, or rather who it was and she also knew that the Who in question had not even reached the edge of the yard, much less knocked on the door.

El caballo de la mujer!

Pajarita flew out the door to greet her beloved teacher and friend: The horse woman.

We will have much more to say about El caballo de la Mujer later, but she was in a hurry today. She was on her way to St Helen’s to find out about a miracle that had occurred there. She only stopped to give

Pajarita a message.

She sat beneath a hat that was almost as big as she. The sun outlined, as a whole, hat, woman and horse so that to Pajarita her friend looked like a mountain of authority and friendliness, a montana simpatica. Now, everyone knows, if a mountain thunders into your yard with a message you simply must pay close attention at any time of day, but especially in the early morning.

The mountain said:

“Listen, I had a dream.”

“In the dream Abuela was riding a horse around and around in circles.

I said to her: ‘Why don’t you go backward or forward? You’ll get there faster.’ But she said , No. I’m already here and there. But my little bird needs to spend time in the corral.’

“Then she tapped me on the head and I woke up singing.”

The mountain laughed and so did her horse. She said, “Dreams are so funny.”

“Listen.” She said. Abuela made a song for you; she said it will help you move along when you get stuck.”

“Recordar.” The horse woman said. “Remember this.” She reiterated. Then she sang:

‘My wheel is a bird in flight, a whirl of light,

A circle drawn in sand, a baby’s

little hand curled around my finger.

Oh, precious life! Microscopic sphere,

A point of view; a place in time to stop and choose.

Look closer at the little sphere and see it disappear

Or grow larger and larger still.

God says, I Am

Right here.

My wheel is a song. Your are

My song; its notes are round like thunder,

Deep and round like thunder

And around the thunder,

It’s quiet and smooth like the sheen

On the finished tear.’



"May you find some comfort here."

November 29, 2013 at 8:52 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Janice bisset
Site Owner
Posts: 43

Rosalina’s Diary

Oh Lord, today Pajarita gave me such a fright. She stood in the door with my mother’s locket and a handful of lilacs. I dropped the laundry all over the ground and now I will have to wash it all over again. But I don’t care so much about that. What I care about is how to understand how my daughter found the thing I have been looking for for the last 5 million years.And the flowers! I know she was asleep and I know I didn’t pick them….who, then? Aye, I don’t know what to think.

Thank Goodness the horse lady came and distracted Pajarita. I don’t have the time or the mind to hear her questions. And I don’t want to think about it either until Alma gets here. My sister always knows about these crazy things.

Lord, I feel very grumpy. My legs hurt, my belly hurts and my house is a mess. Please grant me clarity and strength today. Remind me to pray because You know how I keep forgetting. Remind me to drink the herbs and water and lemon, if, of course, that is Your will. And please, God, please, help me find peace in regards to my mother. I know I have prayed these same prayers for at least 5 million times, but here I am again: a slow learner perhaps.

Aye, I try not to be sad, but I’m so heavy, so burdened like a burro. Help this donkey, Lord. Amen



"May you find some comfort here."

November 29, 2013 at 10:29 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Janice bisset
Site Owner
Posts: 43


Entry # five million and one

And God said: “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Matthew 7:9 NIV


Lord, I just can’t get going. I start to do one thing but then the roof falls in and I am stuck picking the roof up off the floor. You know me, Lord. I don’t ever finish things. Mom said I had not even finished being born. Why did she say such crazy things?

Oh, if I could just get rid of this bellyache!

I’m stopping for comida: celery and apple salad with extra cinnamon. I can’t remember what the cinnamon is for. And leftover coffee.

I’m so tired, Lord. All my worries are big and fat; it’s too hard to carry them alone.

God, I don’t want to ask for too much, but could you help me get rid of this ache in my belly? I know I should be praying for other people and maybe not so much for myself. But, please, God, just for right now, between you and me, I need you. Amen.

Oh, and another thing, a widow has a hard enough time trying to get through life taking care of the household, but now I’m sick. That hardly seems fair, God. I’m just saying. This hurts that hurts and the dogs’ toenails are too long; they walk like ladies in stilettoes. And I’m not getting any younger. And I can’t find the roasting pan and I’m always losing things, losing things, losing things!

Rosalina threw down the pen and pushed the diary away; she collapsed, sobbing into the pillow of her folded arms on the table.

She wept, but her tears would not turn to salt. They were bitter.

From heaven, Abuela fanned cool, purple shadows toward her daughter, but she did not collect the tears. They were not ready to be collected. Tears are like apricots: collected too soon and they are not only useless, but they rob the late spring of sweetness.

Just then the screen door opened and shut decisively. “Rosalina.” Alma called out, walking through the house.

She saw her sister, and crooned: “Aye, Rosa, Rosa.”

Alma was prepared to console her sibling for as long as it took, but when Rosa lifted her head to pour out her sorrows Alma burst out laughing.

“Lina, look at you!” And she laughed. “You look like a raccoon!” And she laughed and laughed.

Well, what do you think Rosalina did?

Of course, she couldn’t help it. She laughed too; she was still crying, but now she was laughing too.

Then the little green house “got up on its’ nails and rocked from side to side.” And the day moved along.

And God said: “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Matthew 7:9 NIV


"May you find some comfort here."

December 1, 2013 at 3:07 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Janice bisset
Site Owner
Posts: 43

Entry # Five Mil and Two or Whatever

We did it, Lord. We made a day of it.

Thank you for my sister, and Pajarita. But Lord, that girl of mine...

You should have seen the fight she got into with Rooster. I'm not saying she was innocent, but that crazy Rooster never knows when to quit.

Anyway, I pray for true contrition for my sins, especially pride. It's these feathers,

Well, goodnight, God. I love you. Amen.

Oh, Alma told me that amen means "so be it." Is that true?


"May you find some comfort here."

December 1, 2013 at 3:10 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Janice bisset
Site Owner
Posts: 43

“Lo siento.”

Pajarita stood at the side of her mother’s bed. Chacha stood beside her, two little feet on the floor and two little feet stretched as high upon the mattress as they would reach.

Rosalina was already asleep. She had to tell the ferryman to turn around, “I left something behind…or someone is calling me.”

She woke up when Chacha licked her hand. “Lo siento, mama.” Pajarita said again.

“What?” Rosalina wasn’t sure if she was awake or dreaming because Pajarita was surrounded by fog.

The fog cleared when silvery tears began to fall from Pajarita’s eyes.

“I’m sorry for fighting with Rooster.” She cried. “He said my rosary from Abuela is fake. I said it came from heaven and he called me a liar. And he tried to grab it away from me and I slapped him and then…”

“Shhshhshh” Rosalina’s comfort welled up from deep within and rushed to her daughter. “Venir.” She patted the mattress and Pajarita climbed into bed. Chacha needed a little help, but as soon as she was up she dove under the covers and turned around 15 times, as was her habit when she was in Rosalina’s bed. And if anyone interrupted her, she had to start all over again.

Rosalina smoothed the worries out of her daughter’s forehead, She said, “Hija, first of all, it’s not a rosary, it’s a necklace.”

She held the locket in her hands and opened it carefully. “Mira.” She said. “This is a picture of Abuela, and this is me, and this little baby is you.”

Pajarita was stunned. She didn’t know of such things as lockets.

Rosalina continued: “I don’t know where you got this, if it came from heaven or not. I threw it away a long time ago, right after this picture was taken. I threw it in the bushes because I was so mad. Then I went to look for it later on and it was nowhere to be found. Every time I went to the yard I looked for it and never found it.”

Pajarita inhaled a leftover sob.

“Then you come out with the locket all shiny and a handful of lilacs, and…Yo no se, I just don’t know what to think. But I know, hija, you are not a liar. You are not a liar.”

The cobalt sky wrapped his arms around the moon and they sighed in unison; the stars twinkled light blue and pink and yellow. The crickets were still serenading when Rosalina, Pajarita and Chacha fell asleep one minute before midnight.

December 8, 2013 at 2:51 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Janice bisset
Site Owner
Posts: 43

“Help!” Pajarita screamed, but no one could hear her. “Help! I can’t swim!”

The flood came through the arroyo without warning; Pajarita kicked her feet as hard as she could, trying to keep the water out of her nose.


El Cabillo de la Mujer

sat upon a white mare,

and the white mare floated ‘pon the sea;

the round earth turned in relative peace

while the bees sipped honeysuckle tea.


The horse lady had a gold lasso

as big around as El Paso;

She flashed  and whirled it, let it fly, then curtailed it;

"Pajarita," she said to her her pupil,

can a seagull drown in a thimble?"

"Get up. Get up. Get up."

December 11, 2013 at 1:05 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Janice bisset
Site Owner
Posts: 43

"Get up, Pajarita." 

Rosalina shushed away a very thin layer of night air with whispers, careful not to startle her daughter.

"Get up, Little Bird. You have a visitor."


"May you find some comfort here."

December 12, 2013 at 10:40 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Janice bisset
Site Owner
Posts: 43

Pajarita could not move a muscle, not even to blink. She could hear her mother and all the morning sounds, but could not respond. She didn't want to, but she started dreaming again.

"Okay, kiddo, if you can't come to me, I will come to you." Her teacher, the Horse Lady had appeared beside the bed, horse and all. She brought a whole mountain with her that loomed high and blue behind teacher and her horse.

Pajarita still could not move, but the teacher's presence kept the pain at bay. 

"Funny thing," Miss Wendy chuckled. "I was having trouble getting here this morning...kept getting stuck in mud all the way up to my horsefeathers! I shoulda known you were stuck too."

The mountain started laughing. Miss Wendy laughed too. But it was when the horse curled and wiggled her lips in a horsey grin that the spell was broken. Pajarita laughed in her sleep; it was her own laughter that woke her.


"May you find some comfort here."

May 6, 2014 at 1:39 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Janice bisset
Site Owner
Posts: 43

Pajarita and Chacha's feet barely touched the floor as they ran out the door together, inhaling and exhaling the morning for all its worth.


"May you find some comfort here."

May 6, 2014 at 1:50 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Janice bisset
Site Owner
Posts: 43

The problem with miracles is that we get so used to them they become ordinary. That is just how the mind works. But Miss Wendy said it could be different and that is why she always started her lessons by having Pajarita get into "Horse Energy."

That term was usually reserved for the actual students---the ones who rode and cared for the horses. But when Pajarita explained that she was using horse energy in her own way, Wendy's curiosity was piqued.

"H is for honesty." Pajarita explained. "O is for open, R is for ready, S is for simple and E is for easy does it every time. Horse energy. Sometimes I change the words around but the idea is the same: if I intend to have a good ride, I have to be honest about the way I feel and what I really think, and I have to be open and ready, or open and responsive to the present moment. Right?"

"Welcome to the corral, kiddo." Wendy said.

So when Pajarita sat down next to her teacher they did not exchange words. They used their precious time together to stop and be silent, to be fully present to the reality of the moment, where miracles occur.

Silence was so loud under the Umbrella tree! Insects buzzed and hummed, birds chirped and chattered, Chacha scratched every single inch of her little chihuahua.body; the air was rich with sound and it began to sound more like flowing water than air.

The bells of St. Helen's church pealed; both Miss Wendy and Pajarita smiled and opened their eyes.

"Remember that day," Pajarita laughed, "remember that first day they started ringing after all these years, and everyone was half scared and half giddy...there were so many tortillas dropped on the floor...aye" She laughed.

The mystery of the bells has still not been solved; no one knows why they started to work after being broken for so long. Well, almost no one.

Rosalina had been rolling dough into little balls when the bells rang. Everyone else was shocked, but Rosalina simply whispered, "Gracias, Mama," and she rolled the daily bread into perfect circles.


"May you find some comfort here."

May 25, 2014 at 2:16 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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