Birds in bed

We went walking one evening last week, at twilight. It's been so hot and seven o'clock brings little relief from a tired sun and fiery asphalt so we wait until twilight. 

I heard rustling in the trees overhead and when I looked up I counted four cardinals primping and preening on a branch. I started to look up in the trees as we walked and noticed how all the birds were ending their day by finding a branch and settling in for the night together in groups of four or more. I have never caught this happening before, seeing birds cuddling up in trees for the night. I've only caught them...gone for the day.  I made a note of the time to catch them again. 

We stopped under the giant fig tree in the neighborhood, hoping for a snack. The figs were gone, new fruit was on its way and would be ready in three weeks or so. There was a group of blue jays accommodating themselves. I told August if we wanted figs, those birds would be the ones to ask. August told them good night and we went on our way. 

We caught familiar scents in the air, onions sautéing, tomato sauce, bar-b-que. Dog walkers were coming out, joggers going home. We passed the sad park with broken playscapes. The sun finally made its exit but the sidewalk continued its fiery echo. We walked home excited that we saw birds getting into bed.

Corner View: Overgrown

My hair is not straight, it has a tough wave and almost a full curl to it. It is thick and high maintenance. I have always hated it. I have never been good to my hair. I love how ringlets and bountiful tendrils look on someone else. I have never been able to work well with my own coiled coiffure, further complicated with two unfortunate cowlicks. I am tired of braids and buns and tangled tresses.

Maybe, I was happiest with shorter hair? I grew out my hair for a man who claimed to love long hair on women. Long, luscious, straight hair, that is...not what I ever had going on. Even when a compliment was requested, all I received was a general, "I like long hair". I never felt the love. After years of over growing my hair, now just a bad habit, I have decided to really try hard to find a style that fits the texture. It takes talent to make a mane like mine look magnificent. So I am fearlessly seeking out someone skilled with scissors to do the sublime. Lately, I feel everything has just gone on too long.

Corner View: Morning Light

When I think back of all the rentals I have occupied in this city, the first memories that come to mind are the mornings. I remember one garage apartment where the mornings were especially fun. My bedroom had four lace covered windows and the morning light would awaken me in the gentlest way. I would then go to the bathroom and open the shade. In the early summers there would be a bird nest and for awhile baby birds with their high pitched peeps were part of my wake-up call. I could see them right in their nests from my window. I remember feeling incredibly touched by the view. The rest of the house had windows all around and in the spring and summer, the trees colored the sunlight a beautiful shade of green that would create the most enchanting effect indoors, in the mornings.

When we were living in an old duplex in Oklahoma, I loved greeting the morning by opening the French doors in the bedroom that led to the deck outside. It had no porch covering it so you could feel the warmth of the sunrise. August and I had a potted rose plant we loved to pamper and talk too while the sun grew and grew over us.

I must have sunny, morning light. Cloudy days and rainy days do bring a nice break but if they go on too long I slow down, become clumsy. The fall and winter sunlight has a sharpness to it. Sometimes, you get a preview of the season in waiting if you are up early enough on just the right morning. I caught a distinct crispness in the pocket of a cool breeze on a walk last week. I could smell fall.

Oleander and a shade 

Morning trying to enter Mr Gage's living room.

Corner View: Routine

Here is a  checklist I use on routine walks:

Look for birds of prey in the sky 
Search for butterflies or dragonflies
Listen when the breeze is trying to speak using the trees and windchimes
Listen for bird songs or woodpeckers knocking
Smell the air, try to find roses, lavender and sage
See squirrels acting squirrely or having a snack
Visit the biggest tree look for a fig tree
Look at the clouds

August loves looking at the clouds and pointing out what she sees in them. I guess it was on walks in Woodville that I developed this mental checklist. Letting the natural world draw me in is something I look forward to on our walks.

Visits to the community gardens are something else we just have to do. I feel fortunate to have access to the one in our neighborhood. It's important for August to see vegetables growing. So many questions begin there. We observe bees and butterflies, she visits hens and roosters, collects rocks and scents from the many flowers and herbs there. She made me laugh the other day going from plant to plant sniffing them.

The desire for a more natural environment is returning to me. A year ago I was fine living in a city, having lived in small or rural towns for three years. Now, I crave more trees, gardens, space, roosters crowing and lots of good dirt. I have faith that one day we will find the perfect spot, a balance.

July 4th 2015

Fiery, colorful chrysanthemums, exploding in the sky above us. A sizzle and a whistle then a boom gives birth to a bright, red dandelion, then a fizzle and fade. August screaming with delight, pointing out the fireworks to those around her..this was July 4th 2015.

We took a blanket and set out, telling August she would hear the symphony, see violins and then watch a real "fireworks show". Once we approached the bridge downtown, on the other side were people, tons of people, a massive collection of bodies, a daunting crowd. We decided to stay just where we were and it turned out to be the perfect spot once the fireworks began. As we waited for the show I heard the different languages that were being spoken around me. I felt embraced by the crowd that was now quickly forming around us, all of them strangers feeling like friends. I don't usually enjoy such crowded events but found myself moved by it all.

Corner View: Path

I remembered and told August, in the middle of dinner, to grab her shoes because we had an appointment with planets. The sun had just gone down. She couldn't find her shoes so I put her in the stroller and out the door we went. Under a Monet sky we set out to look for the Venus and Jupiter conjunction. The full moon filled August with excitement. I traced a path in the sky from the full moon in the east and there to the west appeared our bright planets, nestled among some lacy clouds.
"Look, August, look up look at the only stars in the sky!" She confirmed it with, "I see them, Mommy, I see them." I explained they were the planets Venus and Jupiter. She repeated,"Venus and Jupiter". 

We watched them as they stood still in their dance for us. I told her how special it was to see this with her and with the full moon. We lingered until the light around us dimmed and the mosquitos started to hover. We then turned our backs to Venus and Jupiter and headed back home. Along the way August told people passing that she saw planets and that there was a full moon.

Celestial, astral, stellar, ethereal...some of my favorite words, magic words that bring a peace to my earthly self just saying them. I have been thinking all evening...about the ongoing magic in the sky, the rewards found in twilight. Back in our home the half eaten dinner was just too sobering a sight for eyes that had been searching out the Divine. It's time we get a telescope.