New Perspectives and New Neighbors

October 17, 2010

Birds are such resourceful creatures, always innovating new places to live. Like those destructive and determined woodpeckers that have ruined the cedar siding on the east side of our house, now hung with bird netting –  how attractive – but I digress – as usual.

The sweet autumn clematis on the front of the house is now an avian hotel. We have neighbors right outside our bedroom window. I noticed unusual rustling a few days ago and yes, confirmed that the upper bush of leaves and branches is now home to wrens, who peep and chirp and scratch. They fly in and out, peek out from the leaves and will be SO surprised in a few weeks when their hotel dries up and they are exposed to wind, rain and cold.

Or maybe they won’t be. All bird-made nests (except for those damn woodpeckers) change throughout the seasons in the Midwest. Bare to camouflaged and then back to bare and then to covered in snow. They know all these homes are temporary and they must be on the move often. How exhausting – thank goodness they don’t have to pack up the kitchen and drag boxes marked “second bathroom” around with them.

I walk through the garden in front, where the sun is shining, where it’s warm right now. While it’s supposed to be unseasonably warm again this week, at 8:30 am, it’s brisk in the garden, especially in short sleeves.

I can smell bacon cooking through the screen and the combination of early morning chill and smokey aroma reminds me of camping and so I think of Dominic, on his first camping trip ever this weekend. He has only called home once in over 48 hours and will stay another night.

With the fall play cast party here Friday, walls shaking with laughter and shouts; singing, more laughing and projected reenactments at volume of Sassy Gay Friend videos, it was actually difficult to notice he was missing. This morning, however, I am missing his thundering down the stairs as he jumps from the hallway to the landing (I don’t think his feet have touched those upper stairs in the 10 years we’ve lived here), the running – dogs barking – banging doors, shouting – the chaos that he creates. I’m trying to enjoy what I’ve got now – quiet organization  – but it seems empty.

This is a major achievement for him – he’s even winning $40 from Julie for making it through this extended weekend without fast food or indoor plumbing. Beyond the indoor plumbing (which is in itself amazing for my germaphobe), he is staying somewhere with limited contact with his family, with young people he barely knows, in uncomfortable and unfamiliar surroundings – and not freaking out. He’s handling it. My god, this is a beautiful day!

And this week, opening night, Eliza finally saw that it was okay to be the student director. She understood the importance of her role – that her influence in coaching accents, working with drunken speeches and all the other visions and work that make a successful show was truly felt and valued – a vital part of the making of the show. She has grown so much through this experience -such a difficult experience – and learned many good things about herself, the people around her and about the theatre.

New ways of looking at the things life throws at you – and in the garden too. It’s no longer a new bloom, a new color, a new sprout that appeals – they are just not there anymore. Now it’s the structure of a seed head, the split in a pod, the fuzz of a drying bloom, the muted colors, the form, the shapes. Things that we don’t think of as beautiful suddenly are.

The rattling black seeds of garlic chive, the honey locust leaves spreading a fine layer of mulch on the Neither Here Nor There bed, the puckered heads of sunflowers, houseflies sunbathing in sluggish abandon on soft clematis heads, the asparagus fern that is now thriving because the sweet potato vine is dying, the droop of the leggy impatiens.

I read today that things that grow quickly, like a squash, last for a short time and are easy to destroy. Things that grow slowly, like a tree, last a very long time and are difficult to destroy.

Difficult to destroy. I like that.

I

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One Response to “New Perspectives and New Neighbors”

  1. katybee said

    Yes, hard to kill, I like that too.
    🙂 Kate

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