Silence Breaks into Song

Finding Hope in the Silent Seasons

Bonita Jewel, MFA
Mustard Seed Sentinel


miniature handcrafted bird coffin
The canary coffin my son made

My older son’s canary died last summer, a week or so before my boy’s 16th birthday.

Allen was in the middle of a creative project, as he often is. This time, he was painting pictures for each of his friends, which he planned to give them for his birthday.

He put a pause on that project to craft a little coffin for the canary.

This was my son’s second canary. The first one only stayed for a few months and never sang in that time.

This one, which we dubbed Danny, had been around for several years, through Allen’s late childhood and wheeling into his teenhood. He had asked for a canary for his birthday; I think it was the 9th or 10th birthday.

Not just any bird but a canary. And this is why.

In literature class together, my son and I, along with a few of his classmates, read the story of a disabled boy whose canary’s loud singing alerted the household to the danger of a fire, saving everyone in the apartments.

I vaguely remember the details of the story. What I remember more is that something in my boy’s heart sang at the idea that a little thing could make a difference when it sang its heart to contentment.