On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me four calling birds. An old English version of the song refers to them as “colly” birds. Colly, refers to something covered with coal dust, something completely black. After taking a quick tour of the internet I gathered the following information on colly birds:
They are most likely blackbirds. Wikipedia states blackbirds unlike many other black creatures, are not normally seen as a symbol of bad luck. They have the ability to sleep effectively with half their brain while the other half maintains a degree of alertness. Unlike migratory fowl, blackbirds remain during the winter if food is available.
In the theological version of Twelve Days of Christmas, four colly birds represent the four Gospels found in the Bible. To this Wikipedia adds: “The symbolicmeaningofblackbirdsis eternally linked to the “darkvs light” phases of the moon. I’m talking nocturnal awareness. … Thebirdis symbolic of life in the heavens (higher ideals, higher path of knowing) and the colorblackis symbolic of pure potential.”
The gift my true love gave symbolizes her faithfulness and commitment to our relationship, ever watchful to protect it no matter the season of life. Together we will prosper with the wisdom and blessings from heaven.
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:25-27
My thoughts recently have centered on the word “train.” This usually happens when fall transitions from picturesque to grotesque and I have to retreat indoors. Each year about mid November a desire resurfaces to head for the basement to resume work on my model train layout.
Since I’m so preoccupied with the word, I decided to look up how a locomotive with its consist of rail cars became associated with the word “train.” According to www.Dictionary.com the Middle English word traine (noun) consisted of a series of people, animals, or things. The late Middle English verb traynyn, means to pull or drag in the rear. Interesting…
Where did my desire come from? It started when my father bought me a model train for Christmas. Obviously, he too was interested in trains because a two year old should not be playing with electricity and heavy metal objects. He mounted the track to a piece of plywood and I watched the train run around the circle of track that came with the train set. By the time I was six or seven I could operate the train by myself. At that age I could also break some of the rail cars, bend up the track and disable the steam locomotive. As a teenager, I became enamored with the idea of building a layout. My trains needed a purpose other than endlessly circling around a loop of track. College and marriage seemed like more important endeavors than trains so I forgot about them for a while. My desire resurfaced when my wife and I settled into our second apartment, which contained a spare bedroom. Trains have been part of my life ever since.
Dad passed his love for trains on to me. Was he doing as the verse in Proverbs suggested? “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Regardless of how Proverbs 22:6 is viewed or translated, Dad trained me up to love trains and I have not departed from it.
I questioned whether or not Dad had abandoned his interest in trains when his boys grew into men. But then again, he did seem to enjoy my various attempts as an adult to construct a train layout. It wasn’t until after he died and I found a small collection of model trains among his personal effects that I realized his love affair with trains never ended. My adult sons need only to venture down into the basement of my home to assess my love for locomotives and railroad cars.
In the coming months don’t be too surprised if trains find their way into my blog. Construction is set to resume on my O-27, high rail dream train layout.