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.”
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.
I hear an unusual sound, a familiarity that calls to me, and I look up. The Cooper’s hawk is sitting in the just-budding branches of the liquid amber, maybe eight feet above my head. I never would have known he was there is he hadn’t talked to me. It’s the first time he has. I trust he is the one who comes for our birds at the feeder. I haven’t seen him snag one yet, but twice now there was evidence of his success in the piles of feathers left behind and in the absence of birds. I stand still, talk to him in a quiet voice. And then behind him I see the moon suspended just above the ridge in the daylight sky. It seems to come into focus on its own, like turning the knob on binoculars. The waxing crescent, fat and polished white. Oh, I think, standing below the tree, the hawk and the moon. Both of you together.
The heater cycles off, and in the welcome quiet I hear the crunch of my mother’s crackers and a house finch singing in Aida’s back yard. I savor the sounds and the absence of sounds and the bit of cool, fresh air from the sliding glass door I have not yet closed all the way. I hear the sound of my pen scratching across the page in my notebook. For this one suspended moment, all is right with my world, and I feel like a writer.
Three white-crowned sparrows and a California towhee eat bird seed beneath the small ficus tree in my mother’s back yard. A spotted towhee runs out from his hiding place beside the house to join them, and his animated small self, his bright reddish orange and sleek black, so fresh and alive, remind me of the empty place in the pot of succulents where the dead spotted towhee used to lie, and my belly, full of echoes, hollows out.
I can hear the trill of a bird, a familiar, much-loved sound, but if I once knew who was making it, I have forgotten. My mother gets up from her computer game to wrap the fuzzy orange tube scarf around her cat, protection from the sliding glass door I’ve opened ten inches, desperate for “real” air and a connection to the earth. “It’s okay,” she says to Trie. “It’s okay.” Her voice is kind of sing-song, but it doesn’t bother me today. My mother goes back to her game, and I think how it’s likely just this reassurance she is wanting to hear, too. The familiar bird trill is further away now, maybe two yards over, and I hear a house finch singing next door. Yes, I think. It’s okay. Everything’s okay.