Only Quiet Ghosts Today (4)

nasturtiums, bougainvillea and sunflower greenery in my garden

Guess where I am? It is Sunday, and I am sitting in my courtyard drinking my morning tea for the first time in five months. I am so grateful I was able to trust myself, to be gentle, to not push myself back out here before I was ready. I have been afraid of this day, of being here without my cats. I was afraid I would feel too small, unmoored, alone. I was afraid their ghosts would be too glaring, to have them not lying nearby on their pillows, or Sable underneath the honeysuckle, Sofia stretched out on the cement beside the gate, rolling on her back in cat abandon. I was afraid it would hurt too much to even reach for my own pleasure here in my garden. And I think if I had tried it any day before today it might have been true. But I have spent hours and hours moving everything into summer places, putting in an odd and goofy watering system. There are pots of dirt beside the sliding glass door waiting for carrot and beet seeds. I pulled out one “field” of sunflowers, their gorgeous disks drying now in a yellow bucket. I moved both umbrellas, bought new chairs and put them on the other side of the table. I rigged new spots for some of the bird feeders. I have touched every part of the courtyard in the last three days, and it changed me in the process. Not only that, but now there is almost nothing that’s the same except the birds are here, and the mountains, and me. My furred ones are not, and never will be again, but it’s a deep and quiet ache, not a wrenching agony. And it’s laced with wonder at the newness of everything around me, eased by the comfort of the mourning dove cooing from the fence and the soft pecking sounds of everyone eating breakfast. I count fourteen house finch again and again while I sip my tea and marvel.

5 thoughts on “Only Quiet Ghosts Today (4)

  1. Congratulations Riba — those “firsts” are always difficult. You were smart to put so much effort into the garden and making it new. Loved the post!

  2. Oh, thank you, Bart! I didn’t plan it, so I wasn’t smart—just incredibly lucky or I think it would have been much harder. I just posted it a bit ago, too. You must be up late in gay Paris. :)

    Made my afternoon here, though. Thanks again.

  3. so happy to hear this, Riba. Maybe you were both smart and lucky and filled with love.

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