Posted tagged ‘birds’

“And falling’s just another way to fly.”

October 18, 2016

The morning is cloudy and damp. I could smell the ocean when I went to get the papers so I lingered outside a while. It was quiet. I knew my neighbors were awake as their shades were up, and their paper was gone. I don’t see them much. Thinking about it, I don’t see many of my neighbors. When I do, we always wave.

My groceries arrived right on time yesterday. My fridge is now filled. I bought some plantain hoping to make kelewele. I’m also going to try my hand at jollof rice. It’s fun making something new, especially dishes filled with memories.

I left my windows open last night. I had thought them closed for the season, but yesterday was warm. Today will be even warmer. I got to hear the birds sing when I woke up. They were far less intrusive than that Ghanaian rooster. It doesn’t really matter where I am. I love mornings the best. My dad used to switch to storm windows around this time of year. It took him the whole day. He had to get each window on hooks, and it wasn’t easy because he also had to lean on the ladder for balance. We all watched.

It is from my dad I inherited the gene associated with all my falls. His falls were sometimes spectacular. They were also sometimes funny like the sawing himself out of the tree fall I have mentioned before. He didn’t fall far. He did break his hip on a fall from a high ladder when he was painting his house. He always limped after that. I have been luckier with only a broken bone in my shoulder, and no after effects because of physical therapy. I just accept falls as a fact of life.

Where thou art – that – is Home.

June 6, 2016

Yesterday I chose to do little. I took a shower for the sake of cleanliness, but that was it for constructive. Today I go back to the old list and change my bed and do laundry then I’ll need a new list. I’m not all that enthused about doing anything so the new list will be short. Outside might just be the only item. I have chairs to clean and lights to fix, and being outside might make doing work a bit easier.

It’s noisy right now. I hear hammering and wood being piled. I suppose in the scheme of things they aren’t very loud, but this is generally a quiet place. Dogs do bark and kids do yell but that’s it. The bird songs tend to be the loudest.

Usually all three animals are here with me when taking their morning naps. The only one here now is Maddie and she is roaming. Fern is in the living room and Gracie is in her crate. I can hear her snoring. If I move around, Gracie sticks her head out to see where I’m going. She’ll follow me if it looks interesting enough. Gracie is never far from where I am.

When I went to Ghana, it was the first time I ever lived alone. It took time to be comfortable living alone because I couldn’t just pick up the phone and chat or drop over to visit. Here I was trying to adjust to a new culture and a new country so being lonely and homesick at the same time felt crushing. I had to figure ways to deal with it. I wrote letters, some of which were never sent. They were filled with my feelings, my sense of failure and my wondering if Ghana was right for me. I ached for letters from home and ran to the staff room to check my box at least twice a day. I also concentrated on figuring out how to speak English so I could be understood by my students. I gave myself until Christmas. Come to find out, that was more than enough time. I adjusted to speaking English slowly with an emphasis on letters like t in better or letter. My students were catching on as well. The more they heard, the more they understood. I started going to the market and shopping for food. It connected me to the town and the people. They stopped seeing me as simply the white lady. Now I was madam, the teacher at the training college. I used Hausa, the language Peace Corps had taught me. The Ghanians were delighted.

I began to feel I was home, a different home but still home. I stopped running to check the mail. Sometimes I ever forgot for a day or two. I read in the evenings or wrote letters about my day to day life. Every one of those got sent. I loved being in Ghana.

“She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life.”

May 10, 2016

Today is a gift. I’m thinking Mother Nature has decided to stop teasing us with winter and has embraced spring. Not a branch moves in the stillness of the morning. The sun is bright and is framed by a blue sky. The birds are singing, and I hear several different songs. My feeders are getting a lot of traffic. It is in the mid 50’s but will get warmer as the day grows older. Tonight will be in the mid 40’s. It is a Cape Cod spring day.

This is the time of year when I’d ride my bike to school. I remember speeding down the hills and feeling chilly from the wind. My jacket would fill with air. The ride was short, probably about ten minutes, all downhill going and uphill returning. It should have been the opposite.

The bike rack was old and wooden. It was under branches from the tree in a yard next to the school fence. It was painted a dark green and had layers of paint. You could see them all when the paint chipped. I never had a lock for my bike. I don’t think anyone did. The bikes weren’t fancy. They had the back pedal brakes. Most had wire baskets. The best part of riding my bike was getting home fast and having more time to play in the afternoon.

The streets all had sand from winter when the sand trucks would come by and spew their sand on the snow to give cars better traction, but this time of year it was the street cleaning trucks which would come by. They had brushes low to the ground and would sweep the sand to the  curbside. A couple of times I skidded in the sand. Sometimes we did what came to be called wheelies. Our bikes would leave circular skid marks. Braking at the right time and place was the key.

The day hasn’t started well. I had an early morning meeting and nearly fell out of bed when the alarm went off. On the way to the bathroom I stepped in cat throw up. I have to go out but not for anything fun. I have to some x-rays done of my back. I’ve decided I deserve a good lunch, my favorite sandwich and a whoopie pie for dessert. I definitely earned it this morning.

“Poor, dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprise!”

April 3, 2016

“In the lane snow is glistening…” We got a dusting of snow last night. It is wet and heavy. I know this because I went out and made a snowball to throw at the spawn of Satan eating from the suet feeder. The snowball was the perfect heft for an accurate throw, and I hit the spawn dead on. It sort of jumped in surprise then took off on the deck rail down into the yard.

The sun has just appeared backed by a cloudy blue sky. The wind is dying down. The day is beginning to have possibilities. We didn’t go to the dump yesterday as it rained all day, but it looks as if today might just be the perfect dump day. Strange, I never imagined myself talking about the perfect dump day or any dump day for that matter. It seems I’ve turned into such an odd conversationalist.

The snow is dripping off the roof mimicking the sound of a rain storm. I can see small clumps of snow falling from the branches. I filled the bird feeders the other day so the birds are many and varied. My usual gold finches, chickadees, titmice and nut hatches are here as are house finches, woodpeckers and a sparrow of sorts I don’t know by name. I’m sure the doves are here as I did throw seed on the ground for them.

Getting ready for spring takes more time than getting ready for winter. The outside furniture has to be uncovered and cleaned. All the decorative items like the fountain, the painted tables and the tree candles have to be brought from the cellar. The three bins filled with summer I keep stored under the deck have to be emptied then filled with the furniture coverings. The pictures have to be hung on the house wall facing the deck. The gnome and the flamingo are last on the deck. They formally announce the beginning of summer.

In the front and on the side, the gardens need to be cleaned and the dirt overturned. Two branches too close to the house on the front pine tree have to come down. The lawn needs tending. When the weather is warm enough, flowers need to bought and planted to fill any empty spots. The annuals in the herb garden need replacing. The window boxes for the deck need to be repainted this year then filled with flowers and herbs. The small vegetable garden will only have tomatoes as they seem to grow best there.

In winter the furniture gets covered and all the gardens turn brown. The front yard gets its last cleaning. The dead flowers are cut. The deck is bare and abandoned. Only the feeders are left. It never takes long to ready the house and yard for winter. I always think it’s the saddest day, the day I have to admit fall has finished its course, the day the gnome and the flamingo come inside.

It is so easy to love spring.

“Cats are a mysterious kind of folk.”

October 8, 2015

Yesterday will not go down in the annuals as a good day. First one of the cats avoided the litter box for the floor. I guessed my cleaning of the box did not meet her high standards. When I came downstairs, I found one of the cats had been sick on the dining room floor, a common occurrence with cats. I then noticed Maddie was limping, her front paw was being held in the air. When she got on the table, I check her paw; she howled, bit me and ran. That is the first time in all her nearly 17 years that she has bitten me so I knew her paw was quite painful. I saw why: a nail was growing into a pad. The vets said they could fit us in at 11 so I went looking for Maddie. The last time I had seen her was around ten when she howled, bit and ran. I started a search of the house. By 10:45 I had to give up and cancel the appointment. Maddie didn’t reappear until 5:30. I had made an appointment for this morning so I grabbed her early and put her in the crate. She was really good in the car and let me pat her the whole way. The vet thought she looked healthy for an old cat though sort of skinny at 6 pounds, but I disagreed as she is such a small cat anyway. I decided to have Maddie take the old cat physical at $198.00 which included today’s visit. I wanted to made sure Maddie is nice and healthy inside and out. The vet cut the nail and another one in the exact same place on the other paw. Looks like Maddie will be getting her nails done more often. I also signed Fern up for her old cat physical.

Fish are good to look at. They have that calming effect as they move back and forth through the water.  A bird sings and its song brightens the house. I knew a guy who had a tarantula as a pet. Some people have turtles. Pigs are now in vogue as house pets. I guess I’m just old fashion. I’m sticking with cats and a dog.

We got our first cat when I was a junior in high school. Before that we were a dog family. My father hated cats just because. He gave no reason other than they are cats. He was only home on weekends that year as he had been transferred to Presque Isle Maine, and we would be moving after school had ended. It was while he was gone we got the cat. My mother broke the news, and he said get rid of it before I get home. We didn’t. When my father first saw the cat, it licked his hand and his face. The cat stayed. My father had become a closet cat man.

“Knock Knock! Who’s there? Tibet! Tibet who? Early Tibet and early to rise!”

August 27, 2015

Delightful is the first adjective that comes to mind to describe today. It is cool and dry, magical words. The windows and doors are wide open. Sitting here in my room, I can smell the fresh air, the cut grass and the flowers. I can feel the cool breeze from the window. I can see the sun shining through the branches and glinting off the leaves. I can hear the birds singing and the boys down the street yelling to one another as they play. I have reconnected with the world all because it is cool and dry.

I am guilty of procrastination. The morning filled my senses but left my brain blank of thought. I knew I had nothing to talk about today. I made my bed, sat on the deck, took my time reading the papers, checked the TV Guide for the next couple of days, read my e-mail and finally faced the inevitable: it was time to write, to compose, to imagine, to start Coffee.

If I could reorder my life, I wouldn’t change much right now. I have been retired for eleven years and have recently entered the what day is it phase of my retirement. I thought today was Friday until I remembered it wasn’t. I don’t live high on the hog (I’m thinking maybe today can be idiom day), but I do believe in ease and comfort. I have my house cleaned every two weeks though I am forced to do a bit of cleaning in between, as little cleaning as possible. I have my lawn cut and tended to all season. In the winter my yard is plowed and shoveled. My groceries are delivered though I do go to Ring’s, a bit of an extravagance, where I buy gourmet foods, pizzas and even organic dog biscuits for Miss Gracie. When I’m out, I sometimes stop to treat myself to lunch, usually my favorite sandwich with avocado, bacon, cheese and horseradish sauce. I have season tickets to the Cape Playhouse.

How do I keep body and soul together? (still working on idioms here). I don’t go out to eat much, don’t go to movies except on my deck, seldom buy new clothes (“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes”) and use the library for new books.

I haven’t traveled in a couple of years, and the itch is starting, but I need to build more of a nest egg (number 3 if you’re counting). Rome was not built in a day (4) and my trip won’t be either. I’m thinking next year back to Ghana. My friends too are going back, and we are working on going back together. We lived side by side in Bolga and traveled together often. It’s time we did it again!

“Every morning a new sun greets us and our new life begins.”

August 13, 2015

Gracie and I are out on the deck. She is sleeping in the shade of the oak and pine trees. It isn’t quiet. Inside my house Roseanne and Lee are cleaning, and I can hear the vacuum and conversations in Portuguese. My next door neighbor is back from Brazil. I can hear her yelling at her kids, but she too speaks Portuguese so I have no idea what the kids are doing. The ever-present birds fly in and out. They eat at the feeders and wait in line to use the fountain as a bird bath. Gracie thinks it’s a water fountain. All of us appreciate it. The day is lovely, warm in the sun but cool with a nice breeze in the shade. I am in the perfect spot.

Yesterday morning I was up early. When I went to get the papers, I could feel, hear and smell the morning. That probably sounds strange, but I swear early mornings are different. It doesn’t matter where you are. Ground fog rises in the morning and lingers until the sun holds sway. Birds sing louder than during any other part of day. On city streets, outside the small cafes, sidewalks are swept and chairs and tables are arranged. Some places serve eggs and bacon but others serve cold cuts, rolls and cheese. The bread is always fresh, soft. In other places the smell of wood burning fills the air as breakfast is cooked over the flames. Smoke curls above the fires. There are fewer people out and about in the early mornings. They always look a bit sleepy to me as if they have yet to find the day.

I am also drawn to the night. I love staying up late and being the only one still awake. The houses around me are dark except for the one behind me. He leaves his back light on. I think of him as the unpleasant neighbor. If Gracie barks more than three times, he yells which makes her bark more. He plays his country music so loud on Saturdays I have to go inside the house for a bit of peace. I don’t yell, one in the neighborhood is enough.

Last night I went outside to try to see the meteors. I was barefoot and walked tentatively as I didn’t turn on the light. My feet got wet on the grass, but I avoided the pitfalls and made it to the road without incident. I stayed for about 40 minutes, saw only two, got discouraged and went inside.