A day with no worries
A carefree 24 hours
A life built on structure
Isn’t meant to flow without consequences
Or is it?
Structure provides a frame
That can allow the freedom of imagination
A day filled with dreaming
Following the current of a fleeting thought.
Where will it lead?
It might be fun to find out.
A fine balance
Atop a sharp peak
Leaning on each other
We will not fall
After a strenuous climb
With tenuous hand holds
Arms in the air
We lean out
How far can we stretch
While supporting each other
Grows from struggling together
From learning each other’s strengths
From learning each other’s failures
A balance of strength
And of weaknesses
Each knowing the other will stand
A long life together
Slipping into valleys
A moment to celebrate
A hard-wrought partnership
Born of trust, built of love
A fine balance
Sometimes when the light is just right
It captures a leaf or a blade of grass
And they pulse with life
I imagine busy cells
Out of sunlight
And I smile
Plants are feeding
Chickens don’t make very good practice raptors. They’re not wild, fierce predators. They don’t twist their heads to bite my hand. They don’t try to shred my skin with their talons, although they could if they wanted. They do try to spread their wings to fly out of my grasp. They get bored with roll playing and would rather peck at bugs on the ground. I haven’t tried to pick up my not-fierce-predator chickens wearing leather gauntlets that limit my mobility. That’s next.
I need practice raptors before I pick up actual raptors. I thought the chickens would be better for practice than the cat, although he is wilder and more predatory. But he doesn’t have wings or two taloned feet that can be held in one hand. He’ll bite, but he doesn’t have a long enough neck to grasp with one gloved hand. Or a beak. He’s a poor stand-in for a turkey vulture. Or a hawk. Or an owl. But he does howl.
I need practice raptors because the next phase in my new bird care career is handling raptors in the hospital and rehab facility where I volunteer. Sick and injured birds are dropped off daily. Most are small birds that are examined and gently placed in baskets for care. Raptors are different. A trained volunteer holds raptors while they are examined by the resident expert. So, I need to learn how to pick up a raptor from its traveling box and hold its sharp ends while the expert pokes and prods, pulls feet, and spreads wings.
I don’t want to be responsible for a shredded, bleeding resident bird expert. So, I practice. Or I try with somewhat willing chickens.
The clock strikes one. I open my eyes. Marc’s not in bed. I wait, thinking he’s in the bathroom, then I hear the TV. I get up and pad to the TV room, blinking against the light. It hurts my eyes.
“I can’t sleep.”
“Can I get you some tea? Some melatonin?”
“No, I’ll just watch TV for a while. I’ll be in soon.”
I go back to bed.
The clock strikes two. Marc still isn’t in bed. I hear him snoring in the TV room and think he’ll be sore in the morning from sleeping on that small couch.
The clock strikes three. I wake to the slow, hypnotic massage of the cat kneading his fleece blanket against my ankles. His purring rumbles softly as his kneading slows and his magic fleece pulls him into sleep. I wish I had a magic fleece. Marc still isn’t in bed.
The clock strikes four. I hear Marc shuffle into the bedroom, sure of his way in the dark, but wary of shadows that might coalesce into a cat jumping in ambush at his ankles. But that cat is asleep on my feet.
The clock strikes five. I can feel that morning is close. Marc is snoring. I get up and walk around the bed to check the water in his CPAP. Empty. I wake him up. He fills the CPAP reservoir and resumes snoring, although more quietly.
The clock strikes six. The sky is brightening. Marc is still snoring. I toss and turn, trying to find a position that doesn’t make by hip hurt. I dislodge the cat, who meows in protest and goes back to sleep, but not on my feet.
The clock strikes seven. Marc gets up and goes downstairs. The cat continues to snore at the foot of the bed.
The clock strikes nine. I slept for two hours! I wish I could sleep more, but I can’t. Neither can the cat. He wants breakfast. I want coffee. And a nap.
Office politics. Commute traffic. The sun shining through the windshield, just below the visor, so I can’t stop the glare. It gives me a headache. I need to get home. I just want to be home.
Teenage genius trying to live through puberty, not coping well with hormones or feelings, acting out, self-medicating, saying just leave me alone.
Pre-kindergarten sprite with glow-in-the-dark hair who loves frozen peas and just wants to dance.
Perpetually sticky floors from spilled juice. Handprints on cupboards. Never ending laundry. Dirty dishes everywhere.
Harried husband who doesn’t deal well with corporate life. He thinks he knows what’s right and wants to do that, unencumbered by rules.
Travel, packing, itineraries, passports, business meeting preparation, leaving family, guilt.
Family courts, detention centers, mental health facilities, rehab. Eventual reconciliation.
Juggling schedules, parental participation, dancer drama, injuries.
High school, college, graduations, weddings, grandchildren. How fast time flies.
Retirement, volunteering, slowing down, money worries, health worries.
Finally taking time to see the beauty surrounding us. And the love.
I blame it on the rats. I haven’t heard the thump of their heavy bodies or the scratchy scrabble of their feet on our roof since we installed solar panels. We took away their playground. They apparently found a way to get back at us.
Or maybe it’s the universe extracting payment for allowing me to make a perfect pie pastry the other day. I don’t remember making any promises to the powers that be, but they may have been implied while I was rolling out the dough.
There were no clouds in the sky when I got up. The sun was shining, and the sky was blue. The morning looked bright and cheery.
I stumbled down the stairs toward the kitchen to make coffee. Filled the kettle. Turned the knob to start the gas burner. Click, click, click.
I turned more knobs. Click, click, click.
Not one burner lit.
I stomped back up the stairs to look at the gas water heater. No pilot light.
Marc checked the earthquake shut-off valve, staring at it like he knew what he was doing. Then he called the power company. Then he called a friend of his who is a plumber and who installed the shut-off valve in the first place. He told him how to reset it. Voila. Gas. Coffee. Hot Water. A shower.
Our newly installed solar system isn’t fully functional after a month and numerous electricians and technicians and others stalking around our yard poking into the equipment mounted on our walls, looking serious while talking on their phones and pacing.
Today was supposed to be the final repair.
The electrician turned the power on and off all day as he did mysterious things to the boxes on the walls. At 4 pm, he told me the system is functional, but our battery doesn’t work. Someone else will come look at it.
And the Wi-Fi and Cable went out intermittently all day.
I fired off a polite-but-angry email to the solar company.
I walked into the kitchen late this afternoon and saw water on the floor near the sink. I opened the doors to the cupboard below the sink and found sitting water. Things weren’t floating, but it was close. I gathered towels and emptied the cupboard of all my sodden cleaning supplies.
I had been thinking it was time to clean out under the sink. Maybe the plumbing decided to give me a nudge.
I light my calming Cuban vanilla candle and poured myself a glass of wine. I’m done. Tomorrow is another day. Hopefully one with gas, electricity, Wi-Fi, cable, and a working solar batter. Oh, and world peace.
Outrageous wall of refrigeration
Spills frozen peas on the floor
Model A puffing acrid oil and exhaust
Struggling over the mountain pass
Held together with twine and tenacity
Bored boys spat
Out of hunger and boredom
While small girls pounce
On frozen peas
Bound together with the twine of family
At 5 o’clock, I have a glass of wine and wind down from my day.
I think about dinner. I have 3 binders full of my own recipes. And two shelves full of cookbooks that I rarely consult. And the internet with its countless recipes and variations. And many variations my head that I haven’t written down. I like to cook.
I’ve never met a recipe I didn’t want to tweak. That’s why I don’t bake. Baking is not forgiving of my experimentation. If baking is chemistry, cooking is alchemy. I am an alchemist.
I list on-hand ingredients in my head and let them simmer in my brain. I pull things out of the fridge and out of the cupboards. I start to chop, not knowing exactly what I’m making.
I stop chopping and run to my desk to capture a story idea that came to me like magic.
Back in the kitchen, flavors start to build. They smell delicious. And inspirational. I run to my computer again. And again.
Dinner is often delicious. Seldom inedible. But the stories that come to me while cooking are always indelible.
I don’t know why
Tears come for no reason
And all reasons
I embarrass myself
And probably my kids
Although they’ve grown used to my tears
On every occasion
I try really hard
But I can’t seem to stop
Those salty tears
That run down my face
I am soft-hearted
And overwhelmed by beauty