Tonight my eyes are getting heavy and my heart lighter. It’s the first day of my month, the eve of my birthday, the ending of my year of blogging and this last week or so of crazed posting before I turn sixty-four. Like other important eves of the year, this one has me looking back. My last birthday was hard. It was harder to be connected to myself than it is now. And I was completely cut off from my own home, but now I am tethered to it again, and the song of my white-crowned sparrows and the young mama hummingbird taking a bath and the new generation of lizards there in my courtyard are all part of the fabric of me again even though I am still living away from them. Now I get to visit. I get to know they don’t all think I’ve abandoned them anymore. And now I have lizard friends here, too, and my red-tailed hawk family, my two ravens and the Cooper’s hawk. I even have my mother’s white-crowned sparrows here, though they never serenade in the same way. Tonight I feel a little silly for not being able to let go of it but so glad, too, that I did not abandon my blog after all. And I feel hopeful for the year to come. And grateful, always, for each of you, coming by to read my work—and caring.
I listen to my white-crowned sparrows singing for a long time. And I let some of the tension seep out of me. I remember I learned how to stay in bed here in the mornings because of my much-loved boy cat when he was dying, and I made small beds for him beside me on this bed, complete with heating pads that cold December. I think about his gift to me (best view of all) and about all I have weighing on me now. I think of my closest friends and all they have undergone, all they are holding now. I think about the people in Ukraine and all they carry. I think about how we all hold all these hard things and all this love and even joy in the midst of it all. I cry with the bigness of it all, good, clean tears, the white-crowned sparrows singing for me on the cinderblock wall across my little road this morning, all this tenderness for what dear creatures we all are, with our fleeting lives in this always changing worlds
Today I get to wake up in my own bed. I make tea, climb back into it, cozy in the cool morning, all the windows open, the San Jacinto mountains spread before me. I let myself drift and daydream, one of my favorite things. I hear a white-crowned sparrow begin to sing across my little road, and then a second one joins in, and another and another. Their music is balm and blessing for me, reaching sinew and bone. I didn’t know how many might have come this winter. I set one of the automatic feeders up for them beneath the bougainvillea in the courtyard, knowing it wouldn’t be as much as before when I was here to feed them, but if they came, it would be something, an offering, at least. This morning in bed I listen to call after call, my lips parted. I understand they’ve been here in numbers all along, hoped for but all unknown to me until this moment. And I understand this morning’s song is their gift to me.
(You can listen to them here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1R4_VdLj3TnoxbnpSKt4n8k7MJFTxXrAe/view?usp=sharing)
My horoscope says, “You’ll become more conscious of your triggers and start to develop plans to avoid unwanted states.” First I want to laugh, sarcastic and scoffing. Yeah, right. Then it creeps up on me, this matter-of-factness I am making fun of. And all of a sudden, it opens up for me in a different way. I believe it can be as simple as this, and I have made a zillion “plans.” But these words are assuming my success is taken for granted. And I want that. I grab it in a loose fist. Here’s to avoiding unwanted states, in all their awful glory.
Not the way I dreamed it, of learning to sing the whole song so I could sing it all year while I was sixty-three. But here is my little slightly off key (or more than slightly??!) snippet of “When I’m 64” by the Beatles.
Oh, how funny. I was checking to confirm my latest post had indeed posted and happened to notice I had 21 posts last March (and “only” 19 this year in March). I must have been just as unable in 2021 to let go of meeting my posting commitment for the year (and just as swept away by the big changes and new demands in my life). I have to grin. Here I am feeling all funny about inundating my subscribers, and it’s not even the first time I have done this. I have zero memory of last year’s efforts. And, of course, I’m hopeful I can post my 64 posts while I’m 64 throughout the year, all nice and leisurely. But I bet I said that last year, too. Ha!
Thank you, as always, dear readers, for making room for me and all my foibles.
I am roiling—self-hatred, anger, a kind of despair, even simple exhaustion all swirling inside me. I close the front door, let the screen slam, collapse to my knees just outside. The red bricks are cold beneath my shins, against the tops of my feet. My back is hunched. I lie in a sobbing heap in the near dark. When my tears ease, I hear a bird call. I think it sounds like the Cooper’s hawk who talked to me for the first time this afternoon. I can’t believe it’s possible, but just the thought it might be him I hear, calling out to me in my pain, the idea he might be trying to comfort me, pierces all the way through my turmoil. I get up, walk to the side yard, look up into the bare branches of the liquid amber. There he is, sitting in the second tree, the one beside the tree he greeted me from earlier today. “Oh,” I whisper, fresh tears falling now, but different. I am no longer alone in this. “Oh,” I say again. “Thank you.”