|Tasha's bird feeder and corgyn|
|Tasha feeding the birds in her hand-woven dress|
Feed the Birds
While most folks know that Tasha loved her many canaries, diamond doves, parrots, and zebra finches, she also cared about the song birds who visited her farm. Each spring, she and I would compare the arrival of the first wren and the hermit thrush. I loved how the white-sparrow resided on her farm and its plaintive call sounded during Tasha’s summer solstice party. Of course, some of the song birds showed up in her illustrations, swinging on a garland or sitting in a bush. One wintry morning, Tasha and I watched a gathering of blue jays as they swooped down to her bird feeder and then back to a leafless branch. She had just come back inside from filling the feeder, with a little help from Owen and Megan, two of her corgis. She was amazed by the quantity of jays and kept counting them, trying to ascertain exactly how many were fluttering in the trees. That moment must have lingered in Tasha’s thoughts, because when she sent me a packet filled with copies of the illustrations for The Real Pretend, there were the blue jays, fluffed up and sitting midst pine branches that wreathed the scene in the kitchen when the children explain their dilemma. Tasha had also painted me as the mother, another one of her charming ways to include friends in her books. So now when I sprinkle bird seed on the snow and fill my feeders, I often think of Tasha and her great love for her feathered friends.