There is a female cardinal and her beau who‘ve been hanging around our yard for nearly two years now. The poor thing is a bit tetched. Talk about a bird brain. Her primary obsession is tap, tap, tapping on our windows. She taps away on the dining room window and a small octagonal window by the staircase. Sometimes it’s not so much a tapping as a bashing. Once or twice is understandable, but nearly two years of persistent and rhythmic hammering at the windows has got to have cost her something. Which begs a sort of philosophical chicken-or-egg question: has she suffered permanent concussive damage from attacking the window or does she attack the window because her sweet little bird brain is damaged. Now some of you will feel compelled to offer advice, so I’ll just say that no, my windows are not so freakishly clean as to confuse her (I’m just not that sort of housekeeper). I have pulled the blinds, slapped up numerous holiday window clings, and even let the kidlets craft elaborate window marker murals of werewolves and skeletons sailing ships on a moonlit sea. I have tried any number of things and yet she bangs away. I worry about her some. Her beau hangs around patiently. Every so often he hops nearer and offers her a morsel of whatever he’s snacking on or a quick little rub of his head across her neck. It’s touching really, this devotion he has shown. A few months ago I snapped some shots of the dear girl busy at the window. They’re a bit grainy. As I look at them now I think there must be some pithy life quote that could attached to her photo. You know, one of those cute or snarky animal memes that whiz about in the Ethernet. Surely, her experience is worthy of meme-fication.
I’m tempted to say that my cardinal friend may well be my doppelgänger (clearly not a physical doppelgänger…more like a psychic one). I mean, don’t we all, every so often, feel a bit like we’re beating our little brains out. Usually, when I feel like this, the most
productive thing I can do is breath. If I breathe long enough, I see that I need a new perspective, another vantage point from which to view that situation. A few days ago, a friend posted the following meme on Facebook. I scrolled past it. Then I scrolled back. I read it. What a fine sentiment. Count your blessings, not your burdens, indeed. It’s probably just the attitude adjustment I need. So, here is an accounting of my blessings today, at this very moment.
1. My very dear Dear Hubby. We are a good team. Sometimes we may feel at cross purposes, but mostly we are good together. I spend so much time in my own head and fret that he doesn’t really know me or what’s in my heart. I worry – a lot – about losing myself in the avalanche of mothering, homemaking and a return to teaching. He knows this. And then the other day my dear sweet man told me that he understood. He understood that I sometimes felt overwhelmed or blue. He understood that I wondered how to make time and space for myself. And then he acknowledged how realistic and legitimate my concerns were, even if he didn’t have a solution to offer. He dug deeply within to empathize and appreciate my concerns. What’s not to love about that?
2. My bright, healthy, well-adjusted (more or less) children. Bear will turn seven tomorrow. A few days ago, I sat through his tae kwon do lesson and the poor kid was so distracted by a hangnail that he nearly took a roundhouse kick to the cranium. Well, I exaggerate some. Bear’s partner for their kick-kick-punch sequences was a round and sweet little fellow. He clapped his hands, waved them in front of Bear’s face, and finally put both of his hands on Bear’s shoulders to get my son’s attention. I can’t imagine this hangnail was so utterly absorbing as to occupy his attention for a good 30 minutes of a 45 minute lesson. Maybe it was because it was the end of the day and he wanted more than anything to be in the backyard, building a vast empire of castles and moats in the sandbox. Or maybe tae kwon do may not be his thing. He is still a dear, lovely boy. Though two and half years his junior, Goose possesses not only the focus, but the will, to throw an impressive snap-kick-double-punch combination. The girl is a wonder of self-possession and sass. I must remind myself with strict regularity that these qualities will hold her in good stead as she grows. But if I must bear one more epic temper tantrum about her underwear or shoes or the air she breathes not being situated and comfortable, she may not be on my blessing list anymore. Oh crap, deep breath. Blessings not burdens. Blessings not burdens. Okay, so Goose is wicked funny. That’s her blessing. Every time she slaps her thigh and squeals, “That’s hi-warious!” I think I’ll pee my pants for joy.
3. Good stories and wondrous geniuses like Louise Erdrich and Amitav Ghosh. I am currently reading The Glass Palace by Ghosh. Granted I spend more time reading to my kidlets, but Little House in the Big Woods and Pippi Longstocking ain’t half bad. Pooh Bear is no slouch either. I loved Milne’s poetry when I was a child, one poem in particular. I memorized it and recited it for whomever would take the time to listen. It was titled “Disobedience” and had a lovely rythym. James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree took great care of his Mother, though he was only three. If you’d like to know what happened to his mother you can find the poem in When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne or you can hear it read, quite well, here.
4. Minnesota in June. It’s usually a verdant, sunny affair at this time of year. A persistent band of stratocumulus clouds, those low hanging gray masses that drop a constant drizzle from the sky, have challenged the sun something fierce this particular June. But verdant, you betcha. In my mind, green is the color of abundance and it fills my heart. And, as luck would have it, the sun just happens to be shining as I write this.
5. Summer day camp. For five short days, while the kidlets sing songs and do camp crafts, I have three hours to myself with which to do as I please. Generally, what I please is really more of what must get done. But, today I think I’ll sit in a coffee shop and write this life-altering blog post about birds, blessings and memes of the world wide web.
Bang on my friends. May you be blessed.