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Angels Among Us

Shala, a parrot

I am wondering if I met an angel yesterday. Her name is Shala and we met at the DeVargas Mall in Santa Fe, casually perched on the back of the chair of her friend and caregiver Lyndall. She says she is 28 years old, but I don’t think she looks a day over 15 and she is really quite beautiful. Apparently her favorite words are Visa . . . MasterCard . . . American Express . . . learned I understand from her days hanging out in the store of her Colorado Springs caregiver.

I like what Emily Dickinson had to say about birds,

“ I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven.”


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CRAIG VARJABEDIAN is an award-winning photographer who explores the back roads of the American West, making pictures of the unique and quintessential. He shares awe-inspiring stories of the land and the people who live on it . . . one photograph at a time.


  1. The look in her eye is captivating to me. I’m not sure whether it shows innocence, honesty or wisdom, but it’s definitely insightful, engaging and full of wonder. Sounds like she made quite an impression on you. What a treat!

    • Thanks Lisa, Indeed Shala made quite an impression, not only on me but everyone in the mall that happened to be watching the day I was photographing her. She is really an amazing creature and full of curiosity and trust. You are correct that there is something going behind those eyes; definitely a mind at work. BTW I learned that Shala will probably live 60 or more years and her owner/caregiver Lyndall has had her since she was just a few months old. What a gift! Thank you so much for your comment.

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