Monday, September 11, 2006

Miss you

It's going to be a bumpy month for posts, as I'm currently hosting family. Yes, they leave in a week, but then I move somewhere which may not have internet service until the end of October, at which point I'll probably have gone mad and rendered myself incapable of writing anything. Hell, I'll barely recognize the keyboard at that point. Six weeks without internet would be...We're not going to think about that.

I was in my garden today, my long, inviting, newly mown garden, home to many a mouse and countless birds, bearer of lavender and sunflowers and holly and roses. That garden and its animal occupants have sustained me for the last year, giving me an outlet for the frustration, the homesickness, the sadness. Every day since the day I moved in, the same robin's cracked the morning open from his perch on the weathered fence beneath the roses, reminding the world that this small refuge is his castle and keep. I've become familiar with two magpies (one mysteriously balding), a family of dunnocks, a blue tit and her boisterous brood, a pair each of collared doves and woodpigeons (also with their babies), and at least three clutches of sparrows. I've had a solitary green tit pop in for a meal now and again, in addition to a dozen blackbirds, an errant sparrowhawk, and the robin, his mate, and their single chick. Where I'm going, I won't really have a garden. No long, crumbling rows of brick for scattering seed; no tumbling clumps of shade-loving ground cover where mice dash between burrows. Nothing to fill the isolation or to quell my inner fears that beat against my chest with the urgency of snared starlings.

Who's going to take care of the birds? Who'll know that the pigeons need to eat further down the hedgerow, while the blackbirds prefer the paving stones? What if that last sparrow fledgling never learns how to fly and loses the food I leave? How is it possible that we transfer all of our latent hopes and fears to the simplest things, finding it easier to displace our imaginings than to confront them?

It took a year, but I have friends, both female and feathered, as well as favorite paths and well-worn haunts. I finally feel at home here, and I'm leaving. Again. Every time I uproot, another tendril's torn from the vine, another root snags in the churned earth. I'm off again to that Other Place, another city of spires and ancient stories, a place where everyone has a history but me. I know my history, and I know where I'd like my future to lie. I'm just afraid I'll never get there, destined to shred roots and bark and leaves the rest of my life, scattering the pieces among those I leave behind.

But tonight, it's the birds getting to me. I'm going to miss hearing them and seeing them, distracting me from work, flitting between the thick undergrowth and the impenetrable holly. At some point, I'll let my friends and my future get to me, too. For now, the birds are all I can handle.


Anonymous said...

I miss you, too, chica! Your blogs help me keep sane, no matter what is going on -- so I'm crossing my fingers that internet access returns soon!

Your Stanford Bud

Anonymous said...

I loved the description of your garden. Every little bird is a character with a story. It made me think of _The Secret Garden_ and all those other English novels whose authors actually can identify multiple species of birds. I'm sure your garden, your birds, and human friends will miss you when you leave.
-berkeley girl