The Real Story of Tiny and Catharina


baby Tiny

Teeny Tiny: last summer


Remember Tiny the magpie? And the love of his life, Tina? And remember Catharina who patiently observed the pair and reported on their goings-on? Check out the story here if you missed that post.

After writing about Catharina and Tiny, I wondered what was going on with Tiny and Tina and would periodically email Catharina to find out.  You might have wondered yourself how they were faring.

Now you can read the whole story of Tiny and Tina and of Catharina, too, in Fly Wings, Fly High!.What you might not realize is that Catharina had a stroke (at quite a young age) and began her recovery around the time that young Tiny was trying to learn how to deal with his screwed-up wing.


Catherine Lind’s narrative about her recovery from a stroke is threaded with the story of a wild magpie Lind observes struggling to fly with a deformed wing. Tiny, as Lind names the bird that lives in her yard, works very hard at learning to fly. Lind is inspired as she watches Tiny for months as he keeps trying to fly–first a few feet, then from a little “jungle gym” Lind creates for him, and then to the apple tree to eat the fruit.

Lind finds that Tiny is ever hopeful and persistent. When he tries to land, he isn’t graceful and crashes over and over. Each time, he picks himself up and tries again. He is never downhearted, and he never gives up. But it’s not so easy for Lind who has always prided herself on her skill with words. They are her livelihood and her portal to the world. When the stroke knocks out half her vocabulary in both English and Swedish, she can only communicate by speaking a combination of both languages. Sometimes it seems as if she will never recover.

Watching Tiny’s determination and good spirits, Lind decides to follow his lead and work intensely on her skills by singing, hand exercises, and eventually, telling elaborate stories aloud about Tiny and his life. Reading Fly Wings, Fly High! taught me a great deal about what it is like to experience a stroke, and I was comforted and intrigued by the extraordinary tale of Tiny, whose influence on Lind’s life has been enormous. My life has been enriched by reading this charming story told by a very talented storyteller.


Catharina’s book is short, like a novella—either a very short novel or a long short story. It’s available in paperback or for Kindle.


I so enjoyed the loving detail of the natural world and the animals found within. When I was a kid I loved books that paid attention to this world (Gene Stratton Porter and Louisa May Alcott both managed this accomplishment at times), but I’ve moved away from it as an adult. What a wonderful experience to inhabit that world again.

Additionally, learning about the effects of a stroke from the inside out was fascinating; I’ve never read anything quite like Catharina’s experience.


Yesterday I washed sweet Perry’s bedding and a hairball fell onto the floor. It had WORMS coming out of it. Right after we began fostering him I took his poo to the vet and paid $ to have it tested at the lab. Must have been at a certain point in the life cycle where it doesn’t show up because this hairball is just jammed with worms. I am being so nice to you not to show it to you. Heh. My stomach is still heaving a little. But imagine how bad his tummy has hurt all this time!

I did work on the galleys for Kin Types. That was fun, but a little difficult with my cataracts. Sigh.


Filed under Book Review, Cats and Other Animals, Family history, Inspiration, Kin Types, Memoir, Nonfiction, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Publishing, Reading, Writing, Writing Talk

48 responses to “The Real Story of Tiny and Catharina

  1. Charming post, Luanne- once again. Hooray for magpies! I love seeing occasional flocks of them at our local Audubon Center. Every Saturday morning, at the end of Upper Canyon Road (Santa Fe Watershed area, featured in my guidebook Santa Fe on Foot), there’s a bird walk. When you come to visit Santa Fe (and you are invited, by me!), I’ll take you there.

  2. Thanks for not showing us the worms. Poor thing but he’s really lucky he landed with you. I remember the magpie story. I’ll look this book up.

  3. Lovely on the review, icky on the wormy hairball. I don’t envy you that one!

    • The wormy hairball is baggied and on the gardener’s workbench, just so I can walk by and remember what Perry is going through. Actually it’s to remind me to be super careful not to get the worms myself! or give them to the other cats.

  4. Luanne, insightful review as always from you – thank you so much for not posting a picture of the worms…I feel sorry for the little guy, but he landed in cat heaven for sure!

    • Sheila, the book is really good. I love the way Catharina writes–a bit lyrical but never obscuring the pertinent details of what the two of them have gone through. The connections she makes really made me think.
      Ugh, Perry does not think he’s in cat heaven any longer. He is hiding behind the toilet and looking as sad as can be.

  5. Thanks for reviewing Catherine Lind’s book. I want to read it — now!! As a bird lover and person who occasionally works with stroke survivors, this memoir seems tailor made for me. 🙂

    • I love birds, too, and magpies are special birds to boot. Add to that Catharina’s story of her recovery and what an inspirational book!

  6. Oh, poor Perry! I know you’re dealing with it. That cat has so many strikes against him, but he is lucky he has you.

    • He does! Now I think I know why his coat is dull and kind of scraggly. I think it’s the round worms causing this. I have high hopes that he will start feeling and even looking a lot better very soon, but first he has to go through some hell–and so do I. Not looking forward to his next poos as the worms come out!!!!

  7. Ha! I did wonder when you mentioned on my post that Perry was being kept isolated…….. I wonder no more 🙂 I’ve seen that sight before and nearly 30 years later still recall it vividly – Blah!! The book sounds like a lovely and uplifting read. Have you read ‘My Stroke of Insight’? Jill Bolte Taylor was a scientist who had a stroke and writes vividly about the experience and how it changed her entire understanding of life.

    • Right?! Oh ICK!!!!!!!!!
      The book is so delightful and charming and yet made me think, too. I did read an essay by Jill Bolte Taylor about her experience. Is that the essay or a book? If I remember right, both Jill and Catharina’s strokes started out similarly. Catharina’s perspective on stroke recovery is told in a completely different way than Jill’s. Reading both together would be fascinating.

  8. So sweet about the magpies, and then hairball with worms. My stomach kind of lurched reading that image, and it’s kind of swirling about in my brain right now. Poor Perry though!. Hope it’s easily taken care of.
    Good luck with the galleys. Are you getting cataract surgery?

    • My stomach is still lurching. Wait til he starts expelling them tonight or tomorrow . . . . I think it would be a good idea for me to start feeling sorry for myself about now. It’s 118 degrees here and I am scrubbing away to get rid of round worm eggs.
      Thanks re the galleys!
      I have my checkup next month with the eye doctor so we’ll see what she says. I hope not. The thought of it terrifies me.

  9. Poor Perry! Thank you for not sharing a photo, Luanne. I would have been traumatized for sure. Great review!

    • I just posted one on Facebook, on a friend’s wall. I couldn’t resist. I feel so mean. I should go take it down. But she asked people to post the last animal picture they’ve taken. hahaha

  10. What an inspiring story about an angel in the shape of a bird !
    Great to have news of Perry… poor old thing, he must have been so miserable with that going on inside him… congratulations for all the goodness you have brought into his life

    • Valerie, I never thought of Tiny that way as I was so focused on him as an animal, but you are right, of course! Thank you for seeing him that way! Oh poor Perry is right. Imagine how he didn’t feel well and didn’t know how to tell me because I was too stupid to figure it out. I realize now that I shouldn’t have stopped at one poo check, but gone for a second. Of course, the veterinary labs charge so much for these tests, so I try to minimize. I wish there was a way I could examine poo samples MYSELF or take them somewhere where they can be done for $10 each poo instead of $45-75!!! And then when his coat looks scraggly I should have realized it was medical and not that he wasn’t properly grooming! Boo me!

  11. Wow! What an unusual book and how inspiring…I’m taken with Tiny’s story but also that of Lind and the effect of the stroke, particularly that she ended up speaking a mixture of English and Swedish – being bilingual in both these languages I can well see how this can happen. Thank you so much for sharing this review and a book I want to read.

    • Annika, you will love it! Catharina has a beautiful writing style, and the story of Tiny is so entrancing and C’s own story is so harrowing (any reader would feel, gosh, this could happen to me, too!).

  12. Thank you so much for NOT showing us Perry’s hairball with worms! Just the thought of it makes my stomach heave. I hope you get rid of the worms. Poor Perry (and, yes, poor you with the $$$ and worry over him, too). Many thanks for the book review. I will get myself a copy 🙂

  13. I love the story of Tiny and the book sounds like a very touching memoir. I hope Perry is soon worm-free!

    • The book is wonderful, Andrea. It’s the one I was thinking of when I think I mentioned a book to you sometime back. That attention to the natural world . . . . Thanks re Perry. I am now hoping I don’t get worms! He felt so bad that I was kind of staying away from him that I had to go back to lying on the floor holding his food bowl while he eats. Yikes.

  14. I am so happy you chose to write about Catharina and her Tiny again. Thanks, Luanne for your wonderful review with such warmth and caring displayed. You are someone who I admire how you and your husband went to the shelter and always showed your love of creatures, great and small!
    Awww, poor Perry! What bad luck at the stage they must have been lying dormant. He’s been with you for quite some time. It is strange this finally came about but lucky so far, no other cats have caught this! Good thing he’s a “loner” other than slowly warming up to you and your Gardener hubby. 💞

    • Yes, Perry will be by himself for quite awhile before he will be ready to be in with all my seniors. But he’s in my daughter’s bedroom, and since she isn’t using it and mom won’t be visiting for awhile (no surgery yet–complicated situation going on), Perry can have the room! It gives me a place to get away from it all ;).
      Catharina’s book is so good, Robin! I just loved it!

      • I may put Catharina’s book on a “soon to buy” list, Luanne. I start my Lake Erie vacation on Friday after work. . .
        In the midst of this rather quiet vacation, my oldest daughter, Carrie, and her fiance are getting married in the courthouse on July 7, 2017. Tomorrow (after work) we will do mother-daughter lingerie shopping, Wednesday, Felicia and my DIL Trista, Carrie and I have reservations for a small bachelorette party. 🙂
        I made Carrie’s bouquet tonight!
        The runaway groom from three years ago is long gone, her fancy dress, the other wedding party female dresses are still stuffed in one of my apt closets! She chose a simpler one with embroidery, so I chose a wild flower kind of bouquet. Cream burlap with lace wrapped around artificial flowers.
        Your chapbook is on July 3rd post, which has a totally different topic of baseball. The green outfield made me think of how thrilled you were at the green in my series of weeds posts. 🙂 💚
        Baseball and the holiday should bring more views. Fingers crossed! xo

  15. Ah, the worms. Every shelter cat I’ve had has had them, yet they gross me out every time!

    • Were they round worms? Did you worry about the eggs getting all over the house? How did you know they had worms? that was an issue a few of us shelter volunteers were wondering about: should cats who were outside be dewormed as a matter of course? I hate the idea of people adopting cats with worms, ya know?

  16. Hoping Perry is much better now! What a wonderful mission, though, to revive him and help him to heal and feel cared for! There should be a book about him, yes?

Leave a Reply