Today just felt like the day.
It was also the day I decided to test this mobility thing after a month of staying away from driving. I went to the dry cleaners. I dropped off a return at the UPS store. I went home and checked my messages, rested, ran another errand, went home and checked my messages.
Picked up Richard and asked him to drive now; sure, no problem.
He found himself turning right on a whim and we went out for ice cream because the day just needed something frivolous. Came home and the first thing I wanted to do was check for messages.
When we walked in the door together there was a beautiful dove on its back on the patio, its chest glowing peach in the fading sun. It surprised me. Its fragile legs were red, its splayed feathers a riot of white and black.
Its closed eyelids a bright light blue.
All this color, not such a drab little bird after all; who knew? But what a way to see it so vibrantly. It must have hit that window hard.
There was no sign of the hawk. And a Cooper’s won’t come back for something it didn’t kill–it is not a scavenger.
I was not about to invite the ravens around.
Richard called his dad to catch up a bit, and in the course of the conversation I asked DadH how long it takes if I… I…don’t want to dig in the spot in a year or two and get totally grossed out. I knew he’s been an avid gardener.
Six months, a year at most, he encouraged me.
And while we were talking that message came in.
I went outside. I picked up the shovel. I immediately hit rocks. Lots of rocks. The previous owner had made a pathway of them and many many years later they went down pretty far and maybe they always had.
I wanted to see how far. I didn’t care. There was sunlight and there was room and I’d long wanted that spot and I wanted to make it work and if I had to dig under every stone by hand to pull it out I was going to do it, and I did it. There was a large root from the tree cut down over a year ago; I worked around it. I spent about forty-five minutes working those stubborn embedded determined hard gray planet-bones out of there and putting them aside to where, later, they would help hold the water in place for me and work with me.
It all looked like the scattered weeds and grass and dirt on the right before I started.
Yes I’m still supposed to take it easy. But sometimes, sometimes, hard physical productive work that anticipates the bounty of the future is exactly what life requires of us.
And then when I finally had that small gash in the earth wide enough (about 40″) and deep enough and soft enough to add soil to and plant my pea seedlings in, then, at last, it felt it was time to go to work on that dove’s final resting place. I took a few steps to the left and behind the mango tree. Its roots wouldn’t be that far over yet (and oh good, they weren’t) but eventually the little bird could offer it sustenance.
Here, moss grew on the smooth surface here and there.
The spade slid right in to its full depth. Such a different experience.
And again. Then I put it down, walked back to the patio, and unlike my usual careful measures picked the dead dove up in my bare hands to take it to its new place.
It was so beautiful. It was so soft. I was sorry it was gone but grateful to it for how it would feed my fruit. Then for all that I’d dug the dove was so long that I wondered if it would fit in there gracefully and with a pang I wanted its spot to do it honor.
Somehow the space was wide enough after all. I put it in deep and packed the soil back around it. I put a bit of the moss back on the top and watered the spot to settle it all in. Then over to the peas.
The message. My uncle, my love of an uncle, the one who invited us to stay at his house any time we were in town, the kindest man you could ever hope to meet, quietly let go of his pancreatic cancer and the stroke that had made his last few days all the harder and with his family around him, slipped away this evening to where he waits to embrace us all. As he always has.
The Washington Post put the story on their front page within an hour. Maybe they’ll correct the number of grandkids by morning.
6 Comments so far
Leave a comment
Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>