Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Two for Joy

Photo by Adrian Pingstone
You know the old rhyme about magpies

"One for sorrow, two for joy
Three for a girl and four for a boy
Five for silver, six for gold
And seven for a secret never to be told."

I'm not very superstitious and yet I always look for the second magpie.   At this time of the year they're usually alone because one of them is on the nest, but if you hang around for a minute or two another will appear.   My mother tells a story of one day when she was cycling to work as a young woman - they had to go about 4 or 5 miles.   The guy who was cycling with her spotted one magpie and being really superstitious went off the road in search of the second one.   As a result they were both an hour late for work!   I always thought that was hilarious - I'm sure it wasn't at the time but she laughs at it now.

Well I'm wondering would she laugh if she knew we have a pair of magpies nesting in our garden.     Most people I know hate magpies.  

But I love the idea that we'll always have joy.

There has been too much sorrow around in recent days and weeks and I need as much joy as I can find.

While the world reeled from the loss of life in Nepal and from all the horrors of life in the wars and riots around the world, we were mourning the loss of another member of our little choir. A relatively young man recovering from a minor operation on his knee - he died very suddenly four days later.  Everyone's assuming it was a clot.   I sang yesterday at his funeral and it was such a sad day.   He was a fireman and had two young children and a beautiful wife.   He was 51.   You will be very much missed  Larry.

As the choir gathered on Wednesday night I struggled to find songs to lift everyone's spirits.  We were all on the brink of tears and everyone was singing flat.  When one person left the room in tears I thought tea was needed, and gradually after lots of chat we managed a smile and even got a few laughs in the last few songs of the evening.

Singing gives great joy.  It releases hormones not dissimilar to chocolate :)  It's not always easy to sing when we're feeling fragile and broken and beaten by life or just by the stresses of the day.  But if you can manage even to sing along to the radio or yell out a bit of AC/DC at the top of your voice in the shower, or hum a lullaby to a child, or sing along with Dolly, your mood will lift and it will lift very very quickly.

The world is in serious need of joy at the moment.  Let's keep on singing.



I'm joining in today with Lisa for the 1 Word Blog Linkup.

22 comments:

  1. I'm very sorry to hear what's happened and of course your choir will be finding it difficult to come to terms with. Although I am sure you being able to sing at the funeral was much appreciated, I can only imagine how hard this must have been for you.
    On the subject of single magpies I can pass on this little rhyme to be said if only one can be seen as a protection against bad luck:
    "Unclean in ones, clean by twos
    The dove in heaven is the one I choose"
    All I can say is it appears to work! Touch wood, cross fingers!!!!

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    1. Lovely :) I'm not usually superstitious about things, but magpies are the exception. I'll definitely be using this one :)

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  3. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. What a tender time!

    But what a perfect invitation Fil - to sing our way to greater joy. There is great need indeed. And now, knowing about the endorphine production, I'll be far more intentional in my practice.

    I love your mother's story. Although according to our state's Ornithological Society we have black-billed magpies here in IL, I've never actually seen one in Chicago. I instead know the rhyme as being associated with crows, who are also part of the corvoid family.

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    1. We watch for the crows starting to build their nests at the start of March - true harbingers of Spring. The magpies are like their small cousins and just as noisy :)

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  4. So glad you linked this up with #1Word this week. :D I love music and have always found singing to be a great release of emotion. I didn't know that it releases hormones but am not surprised at all to hear this news. Singing certainly has that effect on me. I always feel better afterward. I'm glad that singing helped you and others cope with the loss of your friend, and I'm so very sorry that he passed. Great post!

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    1. Thanks Marcia - and thanks for coming by …there's no doubt you feel better after singing - it's just making yourself do it when you're feeling down that's the hard part.

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  5. You are so right about all what is going on in the world. I normally post about some researches I read, then an outfit (purely because I like colors) and used to post some inspirational quotes. On my latest post I wrote "to honor the people in Nepal, who so much need our good vibes now, a Nepali proverb". I am sorry to say, NO ONE till now, among more than 50 comments, mentioned the people there and that they do need our good vibes. I mist say... at first I was a bit shocked, but later... that is what our world turned to be, isn't it? Just pictures of nails and shoes and all the people on facebook are big corporation directors :) So, after my concerns, now the magpie. Some people call me so, because I like shiny things. I didn't know the verses, and I loved them. I will look for 2, now :) I think I never saw any,, in fact. So bad about choir member, so young! Singing helps, for sure. I am studying at a faculty of music, and it is a blessing. Amazing post, indeed!
    DenisesPlanet.com

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    1. Thank you Denise - it is terrible how we are becoming more immune to world tragedies, but it makes the ones closer to home so much more intense.
      Lucky you studying at a music college - I hope it's a wonderful course and I'll be heading over to your blog to say hi later. Fil

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  6. I love music and, although I am not a very good singer, I definitely find joy in song. I am so sorry to the loss of your friend. I'm sure your song brought joy to others as they mourned his loss as well.

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    1. I hope it did Lisa and thank you for your condolences.
      If you enjoy singing then that's good enough - keep on doing it :) Thanks for coming by. Fil

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  7. Couldn't agree with you more and right now the world definitely is so in need of more joy as I live in the town that the recent NYPD cop came from that was shot and killed this past weekend and it is just been a surreal week here filled mourning and sorrow, but could so use some uplifting joy to enter our lives after all is said and done.

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    1. Oh Janine, I am so terribly sorry for your community's loss. Such trauma that you are all going through. I live in Northern Ireland and we had so much of that for many years - and sadly it came to a point where we all just ignored the news and it became normal - that was the greatest tragedy of all. I hope you start to feel better soon. Fil

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  8. Sorry to hear about the sudden loss of your friend.

    In Canada we have a rhyme about crows..with one crow for sorrow, but as children we always added watch it out of sight and you will have joy before night. I still try and watch them out of sight...

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    1. Oh I love that rhyme Dixie :) Here, I think the old people saluted the single magpie. Those funny quirky superstitions are wonderful - I hope they never get lost.

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  9. nice post dear
    YOU HAVE A lovely blog dear
    i followed your blog, please follow back
    http://melodyjacob1.blogspot.com/ #MELODY JACOBS
    thank you

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    1. Thanks Melody - I'm coming over to say hello.

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  10. Hi Fil! I saw your blog in Kezzie's post about great blogs. So sorry to catch you at a sad time. I feel badly for the fireman's family and friends. We have a similar rhyme in my native Nova Scotia, only it's crows instead of magpies. Music is definitely healing!

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    1. HI there - thanks for coming past - Kezzie's blog is great fun - I'm honoured she mentioned me.
      There's so much similar between Nova Scotia and Ireland and Scotland. I'd love to visit there some day.

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  11. We are always singing at our house...in the kitchen, on the porch, during a shower....I'm sorry for the loss of your friend.

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  12. I am so sorry for your loss but how wonderful you were able sing to support each other and you were together. X x

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  13. Hello Fil, lovely to meet you.
    I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend, how very sad. As if the horror of the Nepali earthquake wasn't shattering enough.
    Magpies are terribly cheeky, aren't they? We feed a stray cat and the poor thing has to fight off a greedy pair who try to steal his dinner. xxx

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