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
I have returned to my yoga. I’d been afraid to try for a long time after my fall. My wrists were still healing. The first time I try my sun salutes, I am caught off guard by how much the bottom of my palms hurt, not just my wrists. Today is the third or maybe the fourth time I try, so I am not surprised by the pain, and now I know it will ease up if I keep going, slow and gentle. When I swoop up to standing at the end of each salutation, head thrown back, I see the fat, white crescent moon above me in the daylight sky. With each ending, there she is, her happy greeting a delight. And then when I stand again, there is my gal circling above me, my mama red-tailed hawk, as if she is waiting for me to know she is there, and the papa hawk, too. They circle twice more, an affectionate, lingering check-in, and off they go. I can’t stop grinning.
My orchid plant
and tiny shoots of the cactus
I brought home from Ajijic in 2009
sit beside each other on top of
the toilet tank
in my bathroom here
in my mother’s house
(together with the little
green plastic dinosaur who came home with me
from the hostel in the Marin Headlands)
and every now and then
especially after I water them
I stop and really take them in
rescued from my trailer home
by my dear friends
and somehow dear friends
themselves now, too
and talismans or hope or
living proof my little home
still awaits us all.
The moon muted by clouds
me trudging up the steep street
(it’s a fucking 90-degree angle,
I say, angry to be prodded to walk)
I wonder if it’s so hard to climb this hill
because I am weighted down by my anger
or if it is only because I carry with me
the grief of a lifetime
but the waxing moon carries me in turn
and I am glad for the company
as I climb.
I am out in the far corner of my mother’s back yard under the lime green umbrella doing feedback on Zoom with my new writing group when I see her go by. The mama red-tailed hawk glides just below the ridge line, then lands on the dead yucca stem on the eastern arm of the ridge, the one her offspring was sitting on when I understood he was in despair, afraid she might die. I greet her with my leaping heart and see her land, but I don’t feel like I can disappear from my meeting. Without making a clear choice I am whooshed back into the interaction with these wonderful women. (Four of them met for the first time last month, and today there are six of us, the complete set.) I feel lucky to be a part of things. I was funny about joining late, though I may have been the catalyst for the group’s beginning, when (as usual) I didn’t want our writing class to end. I was so taken by that particular collection of people. Later, I remember my hawk, and I ache for my lost chance. It is an “if only” longing, and I know it’s silly. But having her come to sit is so rare. It would have been lovely to have that time to commune with her. I worry, too, that she doesn’t understand why I wasn’t there for her. That she might feel slighted or hurt or even just disappointed like I am breaks my heart. So I will have to believe she trusts in my love for her, knows how much she matters to me. And I will have to believe we’ll have another chance soon.
There is this little bird who comes to the corner of my mother’s back yard where I sit in the mornings when I can. Today she is poking around the pots of succulents looking for bugs, her white and gray and black and flashes of yellow vivid in the early sunlight. I watch her dart about, sip my yerba maté, warm cup cradled in both hands. I’ve only ever seen her by herself, and I wonder again today if she is all alone. I say metta for her. May you be safe and free from harm. May you have everything you need to thrive. May you be happy. May you have companionship if you want it. On the last wish, I can’t help thinking, oh, to me our companionship is dear. Later, I finally find her in my bird book, a yellow-rumped warbler. And, too, once I know what kind of bird she is, I see another of her species approach her. Scolding? Wanting sex? I haven’t seen her since, but I’m still hoping she’ll be back.
I walk back down the hallway
to my room
and there is Venus rising
big and bright above the ridge
the sky just now growing light.
Again, this unlooked for gift
for interrupted sleep
echoes of the last day of our year
a triad now of blessings.