While I was indoors fiddling through old worn out items for disposal, Mamas keen eyes spotted a second and much larger fig than the one I’d found. It arrived silently on the kitchen counter next to mine. “I usually give the first fruits to Kay’s mom, but this year I’ll share them with you”.
Tucked into a dark corner of the patio rafters is a nest with new twin birds. Their mother gathers food from ours and nearby yards while their wide eyed puffs of hair stand straight up. “Poor things, born into this world to suffer,” says mama who is just as enamoured of them as I. “When they get bigger they’ll start shouting,” she continues, suggesting that they will skip the crying stage like humans and move straight into squawking. Not having lived in this California yard long enough to know any better, I quiet myself around her old world wisdom and nod.
A shout of thanks to all those who’ve fought for freedom, here and in other lands, living into wars they don’t often survive — some, unknown and marked in our memories without names. But their faces carry us, reminding us of the precious gift that freedom is.
“Unidentified soldier of the First AIF, Australian War Memorial’s Collection, sometime between 1915 and 1918.”
The tops of our potted vegetables are pecked out by what look like the beak of a mother bird feeding her small one our broccoli. We hear the crying chatter of this small one while the mother dives for nearby greens, or insects to hush her child. Their nest sits atop the patio covering, placing this family in eyes view of the Hummer and her band of friends.
“Wading shore bird searches out insects in pond. Near Mile 0 Alaska Pipeline Route by Dennis Cowals,” U.S. National Archives, 08/1973
Wednesday, on a busy week, after bank runs and organic supplies, work comes flying in the face the moment I step inside. Unlike the work pace of the 1960’s, American’s fly through days multi-tasking at lightening speeds. Midweek, there are pauses that revive, slowing colleagues who lighten the load by sharing a story or saying a quick, albeit brief hello, as we all climb on.
Mr. Paddy Carroll, Thurles Train Station in Co. Tipperary, National Library of Ireland on the Commons, April 26, 1961
As June shapes up into different roadtrip travels, I am reminded of California Dreamin‘ by the band, the Mamas and the Papas. Their simple harmonic tunes travel in repetitive motion, like a staircase leading into a new world.
“Oxford Examination ‘Schools’ Staircase”, Gift of Andrew Dickson White, Cornell University Library, 1882.