Maya Angelou was an author, civil rights activist, singer, dancer, educator and poet. To me, she was a mother. Mother of life and poetry. The day she died, I sat in my garden and wept as if I knew her personally. Maybe I did.
After being tragically abused as a young child, she became mute for five years. She credits her teacher, Mrs. Flowers, with helping her to speak again by introducing her to famous authors. Then she blossomed. After finishing school, she worked as the first black female streetcar conductor in San Francisco.
She danced with Alvin Ailey, performed on Broadway, knew Martin Luther King Jr. and was close friends with Malcom X, and recited her poem ‘On the Pulse of Morning’ at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration. She wrote seven autobiographies and was awarded over 50 honorary degrees.
There were so things that tried to cut her down in life, yet she ended up blossoming. “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly,” wrote Dr. Maya Angelou, “but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
I made this succulent birdcage for my Mom. After a few years it was overflowing. It always reminded me of Maya Angelou. A caged bird, that learned to fly. Phenomenal.
For a glimpse of Maya, watch and listen to ‘And Still I Rise’
New York Times