Friday, December 18, 2009

The Pause

I have always considered myself a flexible, spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment type of gal. Able to shift mid-stream, change direction, find a new path. But I have been lying to myself. When I encounter traffic, I don't turn right and find a new route, I plod forward, red lights my only view. When I have a day planned I stick to it, regardless of what life throws at me, and often to my detriment, no I can't go to your opening, party, shin-dig whats-it because I have to fill in the blank. The last three months have been a test of the emergency flexibility system. I had plans, a vision, an actual timeline, that involved schedules and money and quitting my job, and planning a move and and and it all went to shit, and then went to shit again. It happened again this week, when my contractor pushed the job yet another three days. I had a moving van scheduled and now I don't. I had the gas company coming to my new house, in Georgia, and now I don't, I have the cable guy, the mail being forwarded, all of it now in some other schedule, some other arrangement, not to my liking or making. I have had to shift, alter, stray from my well planned course. I am not flexible. I am as rigid as concrete on a winter's day! And for what? Why am so invested in my way? What have I to fear? This cannot be summarized here. But I know I will change. My goal has been to move across country with grace. Being generous in the face of frustration, being kind when confronted with anger, and being patient when things don't go my way, this is my aim. I will get there, literally and figuratively, if I worry or not. I will get there if I hurry too, but I might miss the scenery. I will get back to you on this.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Aphelocoma californica

Shreep Shreep Shreep the lullaby of my childhood, the plaintive call of the ubiquitous scrub jay has roused me from sleep from day one, snapped me out of a musing, brought me back from a day dream, grounded me in the now. Its blue blue feathers, otherworldly, found in the garden, on the ground, after a coopers hawk's dinner, sadness for the jay, this ever-present bird, a sound I took for granted, every day, like breath, does not fly where I am going. There are other jays, but not this one, so the sounds of my days will change, and the shreep shreep shreep will be silenced for me. Of all the things I will miss, the Pacific Ocean, the dry sunshine, the redwood trees, this I will miss the most. I will listen for the Blue Jay, and if I am lucky the Florida Scrub Jay, but alas they will be second fiddle to my childhood soundtrack. Listen up my Californians, the Western Scrub Jay is calling.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The lovely glow

I do love hannukah

The Tattler

We made a pilgrimage to Ballona Creek in an attempt to get the illusive Wandering Tattler, a nemesis bird for me. It was a day of life birds for us, or at least a hope for life birds. My core birding group showed up to say good bye to me, John, Barb, Tommye, Lou & Irwin. I was touched they all came, giving up their Sundays, not just this week, but all these many weeks, to spend time with me, looking for birds, talking about birds, sharing their knowledge,, excitement and joy in the natural world. although he claims to have disdain for Great Blue Herons, I've never met a raptor that didn't enrapture we tromped out on the jetty all the way past safe to the edge of the rocky outcropping, set up the scopes and started scanning. I spotted a small sandpiper with day glo yellow legs, focused in and said "I think I have one", and indeed I had. I told her how, on this Sunday morning, probably my last for a while, she was a very important bird. We watched her pick at the rocks, preen and sleep and then picked out way back across the rocks. Some of us were heading south to try to find some eagles, and some of us heading home, so some good byes were said. Love love love seems to be everywhere for me now. Confessions of deep and abiding friendship are flowing freely, plaintive statements about loss and being missed are also being offered up, like little gifts, surprise packages, butterfly kisses. Strange to have felt so without friends, without connections, so blind to the silver ties that link me, and now, to have them glow, like suddenly a black light has been switched on and the lint is showing everywhere. How did I miss it? What was I listening to, instead of these heart songs? Perhaps my own song is too loud. But there they are, small missives, cards, presents, phone calls, gestures, from places I had not expected. Confessions of love that was with me all along. I must listen more closely, there is a scratch at the door, open it, let it in.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Me 2.0

It seems that this is now a time for endings and also new beginnings. How fitting these life changes are coinciding with the change in the decade, change in the year, change in the season. So I find myself in boxes, packing, stuffing, sifting through the evidence of my existence, my accumulations and collections of assorted things. I have tried not to pause over each item, remembering where, with whom and why I purchased each thing, or received as gift, or inherited from some dead person can be time consuming, painful, jubilant, tedious and tiring. Each thing has a memory attached, a story to be told, a reason behind it, and the summation of those stories does not amount to the life that I am now packing up and putting away. I have invested so much in things, foregoing relationships with people for a life of stuff. And now I have to drive my stuff across Texas to get to my new home. Over consumer - that is what my shrink called me - and I thought I was a minimalist. But as I wrapped the 20th ramekin into newsprint, and bundled up the 15th spatula I began to realize that I have bought myself into happiness, or at least attempted to. The house we have rented in Decatur has 4 bedrooms to the three I have here in Glendale, one more room to fill up, furnish and buy things for. I stood in my kitchen packing and talking to a friend who had come by to hug me before I left. She told me about some hard times she was going through and told me that it was just "her story" her version of the truth. So I started to think about my version of my story and how as I pack my things into the truck to leave I can re-write my story. The version of me in Georgia doesn't have to be this me. It could be Me 2.0 with updates to come. I know the old adage, "wherever you go, there you are" and also know that there is no geographic solution to the problem of me, but maybe, as I drive the 2,200 miles to my new home I can leave some of the old story behind, throw the evidence out the window on the slow pursuit to my new destiny. If I am the master of my own fate then really, all I have to do is introduce myself as Me 2.0 and tell a different story when I introduce myself. I might be bringing boxes with me, but I think I can leave some of the baggage behind.