I lay no claim to being an ornithologist – but I’m telling you, spring is most definitely in the air in the bird kingdom. You should see and hear what’s going on in the trees around our house. It’s a veritable conclave for coming together (so to speak).
Apparently cardinals are monogamous, but the guys still go through a very touching courtship routine each season. They ask their prospective baby-mamas out for a date. I gather this tryst is always about food – no ice-skating or movies involved. But if the meal is good and the guy is cute, he can seal the deal if he sings well. Personally, I have heard some very impressive trilling lately. And my hunch is that he’s got to bring something more than a McDonald’s Happy Meal if he’s hoping for a long-term relationship. It’s good to be discerning I think – regardless of your species. And I think it’s good for the kids to see their parents being nice to each other.
Now, the male robins show up a few weeks ahead of the girls, to scope out neighborhoods, do a little house-hunting, and sing threateningly to establish property rights (I guess this is analogous to going to a closing on one’s house). Far be it for me to let them know that what they perceive as threatening sounds pretty damn glorious to me. When the ladies arrive, things move into a mode similar to “The Dating Game” (yes, this dates me significantly). The female has her choice, gets to ask a lot of questions (do you believe that parenting responsibilities should be shared; would you describe yourself as a romantic; if you were a human, what kind of human would you be, etc) and once she chooses her mate they head off for a brief honeymoon at some undisclosed location up the street.
We have a lot of different birds around here – I’m just mentioning these two types because they’re the least intimidating. And because this topic could get a little tedious. Let’s just say that turkey vultures courting other turkey vultures is nightmare-worthy and so frightening to Bogey that he barked at the sky for twenty minutes after witnessing their efforts at seduction. There’s just nothing romantic to be said about turkey vultures. Unless of course you’re a turkey vulture.
So as the buds begin to wink suggestively, promising more beauty yet to come, there’s even more salacious activity going on within their branches. Listen up, it’s the music of love.
Yes, it’s a ridiculous minus-something with windchill. Yes, the driveway is a skating rink and it has been pretty amusing to watch Bogey try to run from one side to the other without looking like a cartoon character. Oh and the cold is the kind of cold that settles in your skeleton, intent on staying indefinitely. I think I forgot to mention that we were the recipients of another 7-8″ of snow yesterday. Let’s not even talk about the stomach flu that Andy felt compelled to share with me. And yet…
This is what I saw this morning…
We all know I’m no photographer – I have absolutely no eye or aesthetic. But you know what I saw? I saw the subtle hint of spring, despite shivering so hard, my iPad kept jiggling. I noticed that the buds are beginning to swell slightly, the birds are starting to flirt with each other in that musically suggestive way that they may consider subtle (but we all know what’s going on). I saw a sun that delights in its insistence that it will defy the reality. How can you not gaze at that brightness and not feel its intention? Images of hope and promise and warmth. Somehow this morning it all seems far less complicated, far less encumbered with doubts and ‘what ifs’. It really is simple – life moves forward. Indomitably. With or without us. Might as well let it go and go with the plan. My hunch is that it’s going to be awesome.
Today is my friend Joanne’s birthday. It’s a big one to us – sixty is a pretty impressive number, and worthy of celebration. Since I can’t be with her today, at the very least it is deserving of a post.
A few years ago, my daughter-in-law set up my Facebook page though I had little expectation that I would ‘meet’ people in such a forum. Within two hours of being connected, I received a message from Jo. She had been looking for me for oh, about forty years. And I felt a surge of gratitude and disbelief that is difficult to explain. Honestly, I don’t consider myself one of the memorable ones. But anyway, there was no denying that we were best friends in junior high school, two of the bar mitzvah brides in the neighborhood (a phrase of my mother’s referring to the number of bar mitzvahs we were invited to attend), and typically on the phone when we weren’t in each other’s apartment. But life happened in between then and now. We went to different high schools, colleges. The last time I saw her was when she came to hear me sing at a place called “Catch A Rising Star” in New York.
“While they talked they remembered the years of their youth, and each thought of the other as he had been in another time” (John Edward Williams)
So we have traveled different roads, in different cities, in different vehicles. And yet our travels paralleled each other. Our majors were similar, our commitments were similar. Our twenties were blessed with the arrival of our kids but kicked our asses in every other way. I probably built more walls around me than Jo; she remains far more open and trusting. I am here for her today as I was for her when I was thirteen. We have both lost our parents and understand the seismic shift this causes in one’s bearings; one’s place in the world. She thinks I’m a better person than I am. I think of her as a magic kite – she soars and dips in colors so vibrant your eyes have to adjust to its brightness. You see nothing else in the sky.
Jo was going to become a bat mitzvah today, but sometimes life shouts “Plot Change!” and you have to adjust accordingly. She was going to speak about her journey, what she has integrated into her soul along the way. She had asked me to say something too – and I would have said the following – “This is a day that celebrates the nexus of all that has come before you and all that still awaits. I am a better, happier person for your friendship. The children you have taught and the parents you have guided have been led by an uncompromising, dedicated, singularly outstanding educator. The formidable and unyielding love for Ben and Jenna is so powerful, it is its own energy force. Your heart holds more than most can ever hope to experience in a lifetime – and you still have a long way to go. This world which you have touched with your passion and your elation, with your sorrow and your tears, with your right and righteous “Made In America” indignation and gentle yearnings for a view of the Gulf Of Mexico – is a better place because of the way you have chosen to grace it. I would have thanked you for the gift of being able to speak these words. Yet that said, I’m just as happy to write them to you here. With love and laughter and wishes for all that you wish for yourself and more – Happy Birthday Jo.
Apparently this reblog didn’t appear the first time – thank you again to Lynne Spreen who write Anyshinything.wordpress.com…