When I heard the cardinal sing its pretty song, for the first time in a very long time, I stopped dead in my tracks to listen. I was in a crowded parking lot but yes, I was being careful. What sound could be more important and more beautiful than that of a cardinal singing its sweet song after a relentless winter.(With no assurance that it is really over)
I happen to have a crush on cardinals more than other birds, I must admit.They have a special family memory for me. The handsome vibrant red male, his “wife” the beautiful, red-gray dancer singing from one to the other, always together like a comforting, well-balanced, special relationship. They look out for one another, they feed each other, they always communicate in song, first one than the other.
I know, we all know, it’s been too long a winter, we can’t change it but the sounds of cardinals and the perfect blue sky, the weather in the upper 40’s makes it seem like we are on vacation, somewhere South. It doesn’t take much to make us happy now.
I wouldn’t say the trees are budding but they also aren’t as buck naked as they used to look. They have the promise of blooming, of bringing life on a day like today. It was the beauty of the unexpected, the thing that happens that surprises you, not the droning ritual of a nasal forecaster.
The window of my car was open to let the breeze in, my radio turned up loud, of course the songs were just what I wanted to hear. Today was special, yesterday was freezing, I’m grateful for this moment in time. Spring isn’t here yet but I can see that it really will happen, someday soon.
Growing Old Together (Photo credit: Jan Tik)Comfort, Same Background, Excellent Manners. Beautiful hands. How he showed Love to his grandmother. Sweet. Helpful. Consoling. “Don’t Worry Baby.”
Old Friends. The first tickle of interest was when his family invited mine to their house one Thanksgiving. I must have already liked him deep down inside, because it was very cold outside and all I wanted to do was watch him fix up his old car. I hate old cars. I wanted to be near him, talk to him, effortlessly, like a jigsaw puzzle finding it’s partner without playing the game.
He drove my parents and me a long way to the railroad station which was far out of his way but he didn’t mind, really. I knew it was genuine.That was the person I fell in love with. He turned on the radio and we sang Beach Boys songs out loud together. I thought his voice was wonderful even though he apologized for his off-key singing.”Don’t Worry Baby” described our relationship, only he could comfort me.
He was on his way to Australia and New Zealand and the thrill of getting an unexpected postcard from him was the best surprise of my life. I felt hot, then cold, electrified, dizzy. I couldn’t sit still, I certainly couldn’t sleep or eat. I called my friend for her to come analyze the handwriting, the words. Did it say “Best, Warm Regards Love?”
After another postcard I deemed less warm, I decided he had met a woman, named Patty size 2 with long glossy red hair curling down her back, the athletic, hiking kind of woman. I could barely walk straight on the sidewalk without breaking my ankle. It was over, I knew it. Patty stole him away from me, bitch.
Some weeks later I was sitting in my bedroom when the phone rang. He introduced himself again, asked if I remembered him. My voice must have risen three octaves. I still remember that feeling, ecstasy. My cheeks were burning red and bright, I couldn’t sit down. My body felt like an internal fireplace, green eyes dancing.
I felt like I was sparkling. Like little silver shots of electricity coming from everywhere on my body shooting high into the sky like firecrackers without the noise, yes, I was sparkling.
He lived in Maryland but had plans to visit his brother in a few weeks in Boston and while he was there, would I like to go out? “Yes, I would” my voice raising three octaves higher in just one sentence.
He picked me up at my apartment with a present. A present? From Australia, a wood cutting board for cheese. I had always been the one to buy boyfriends presents, never the other way around. I felt a certain part of ice, soften and detach from my body. We went to a Museum, where all I did was delight in holding his hand.
He took me to Bertucci’s where we had pizza and salad. I offered to pay half when we were finished. “Absolutely not” this young man said. I melted, a young man with European manners. I was in love, at long last, for the first time. He was the only person, I realized that I never wanted “my space” I never tired of being with him.
We’ve been married twenty-five years and still I think his voice is lovely, clear and in tune. I love it when he sings or when he whistles. We have had our bad times and our good but we have worked through them all, we have fought and made-up and worked and sometimes pouted and screamed our way through our commitment but we did not give up. We never gave up.
We have two children, now grown up, we are a family. Do we fight? Absolutely. Do my feelings get hurt? Sure? Is my husband romantic? No. He doesn’t know the meaning of the word. Are we everything to each other? Not possible, but more than enough. You age, you compromise, love is not a sweeping, quick ecstatic moment. It’s the comfort of silence, knowing what the other person will say at the same time. It’s trust, knowing someone in the world loves you no matter what. It’s friendship too.
At night, while we watch television together, him on his side, me on mine, we eat bowls of ice cream in bed, vanilla for me and chocolate for him, with whipped cream, mine with rainbow-colored sprinkled. I can feel before I see, him shaking his head.
Love is not one romantic date, it’s a series of little things, moments, based on seconds of time that go by so quickly. You close your eyes and look back, and dream of the days in the past when you were younger. Don’t ever take things for granted. That is the first thing you need to learn, appreciate what you have while you have it and yes, there will be sadness ahead but there will also be great happiness too. Different forms of happiness.
My only wish now? Is to be able to grow old with him.
Happily tired, accomplished, cooking meals for others, gathering things for my children. My dog, Lexi, darts in-between my legs, she tries to fight with me as I dance, alone, to the music that is playing from my computer. After watching me dance, she gives up and looks at me quizzically, she doesn’t want to be involved in THIS game, her bone is definitely more interesting. If dancing is considered exercise then I am in pretty good shape. To me, music, my music, stuck in the 70’s and 80’s makes everything feel better.
I laugh aloud, if people would see me they would question my sanity but I really don’t care, I sing horribly, but at top volume, to any song that I know. This is the joy and wisdom of being over fifty.
Granted, if my children were home they would not find this amusing at all, so I would just shut my door and continue to dance, but I know I would not feel the same way. I would feel too constricted, like a bird with a wounded wing. I can ignore judgment from other people but from my children it is definitely harder.
Being healthy and happy is all that matters, taking life one step at a time. Once in a while I get ahead of myself, and I pay the price. Today, I am enjoying, my dog, the quiet of the empty streets, the smell of vanilla lingering in my kitchen and the sound of my laughter as I continue to dance around the fake Spanish tiles in my kitchen floor. The music is loud, everything is balanced; I appreciate what I have this moment.
“i’d rather teach one bird how to sing than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.”
I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing than to teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.
The Sound of Music (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dear Ms Andrews,
I’ll be honest I can’t forget that when I was little and bumped into you at FAO Schwartz and my father asked you for your autograph for little, shy, sweet me, you said “NO” coldly and harshly. I heard you. I remember thinking “how could she be so mean? ” Well you were, there were no other people around us but you simply and COLDLY said no, and walked away abruptly. Who would do that to a little girl? Mary Poppins would never do that. Apparently, you had no such problem. I was devastated that you acted so coldly my dad was furious at my crestfallen face.
However, I still adored your movies: Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. It is for this reason alone, my loyalty to you as a fan of your movies that I refused to watch Carrie Underwood in the live performance of “The Sound of Music” on television earlier this week.I have always been “brand loyal.” I know all about the Broadway play, my sister saw that but I was devoted to the movie version. I knew every word by heart, I sang every song proudly albeit not in tune.
I wanted to remember Julie Andrews the way she was in the movie I adored her characters and her singing voice and still watched her movies when I was feeling blue or nostalgic. I used to watch that movie many times with my dad and my mom. My mom she was from Germany and my dad from Austria.
I will stay loyal to your movies and to your songs, to the characters you played. They will live on in my mind and heart forever. Just do me a favor, think about how a cold, nasty “no” can stick in someone’s memory after so many years. Your resiliency as an actor speaks loudly of your talent but definitely not of your real character.
English: Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus). Canada Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. Image collected at the feeders behind the Visitor Centre. Français : Pic à tête rouge. Parc provincial Rondeau, Ontario, Canada. Cliché pris aux mangeoires situées derrière le centre d’accueuil des visiteurs. 日本語: ズアカキツツキ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I don’t see leaves on the branches through my windows anymore. I miss the lush colors of red, orange and yellow that greeted me in the daytime, gleaming from the sun. As Winter approaches and I tend to recede indoors I know that some of my winter friends are rejoicing at the prospect of snow in the near future. Honestly, I cannot relate to that one bit. I hate being cold and the fact that “you can always put on more layers” does nothing for me. When I am cold, it goes right through my body to my bones probably because I have Fibromyalgia. Cold not only hurts, it stabs repeatedly.
I drink a mug of tea, with milk and a spoonful of glistening, amber honey. It’s nice as long as the tea lasts which is probably five or six minutes. My stomach is warm and I relish the flavor but after, nothing of the warmth or the taste remains. Cold air seeps through our brand new windows.
This is the worst time of year for me, the end of Autumn, when we turn the clocks back an hour. Sure, it’s nice for that one day to get that “extra” hour of sleep ( a concept that I will never understand ) but one we pay for dearly. Winter lasts much too long for me.
I admire the skiers, snow boarders, ice skaters, I think if I had a hobby outside in the freezing temperatures it would make me happier. The only thing I enjoy in the winter at a ski lodge is drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows from a ceramic mug. I was never athletic and having “loose” bones all I need to do is trip, anywhere, and an ankle or wrist breaks and is in a cast for weeks, I’ve been in that black boot way too many times.
The only thing I like about this season is watching and listening to the birds and their songs. I fill the bird feeders regularly, that is my outdoor hobby. I sit inside and watch them play and fly and eat. I listen to the birds’ sweet songs, watch the cardinal couples flying back and forth through the trees to feed each other and to sing happily. I love that they come in couples. They bring me the only piece of joy in the long winter months. At least I have that.
I was cranky, hurting and giving up hope. I have felt badly from chronic illnesses, okay, for a lot of them, but it was time for some ass-kicking, some serious ass-kicking and I was the one who needed it the most. Sure, life isn’t perfect, and I haven’t been feeling well but I’m going back to try to keep it inside, at least most of the time. No one promised that everything would go smoothly all the time, right? I forget that sometimes. So, I sat down tonight and thought about people, both who are living and those who have lived and died, people who have made a lasting impression on my life. One person came to mind:
Zach Sobiech Breaking Up (Photo credit: empeiria)
Though I’ve never met him, personally, he changed my life forever. Instead of continuing my pity party, I watched his video again and if you haven’t seen it, I will post it for you here. To live like Zach, with all his grace, is a wondrous gift, to make every second count and to say his good-byes in person, with his beautiful songs is life changing. I’m not saying it was easy, no death is easy but Zach made active choices in his life and in preparation for his death and he lived every single day to the fullest. Do it now, love it now, now is what we have and appreciate what we’ve got. Zach did.
I think about his family and friends, his old girlfriend, his favorite song-writer friend and his baby sister, Grace. I think about Grace so much, her innocence, her goodness, Grace with her big older brother, losing him like a treasure in the sand. How is Gracie doing without her “other half?” I think about his parents too. What has life been like since Zach died? I have to hold my eyes shut tight when I think of Mom and Dad to try not to cry, because I remember them, especially Mom, sitting on the couch talking about her boy. What about the older siblings, how must they be feeling, how are they now? I think Zach aluded to Laura and her Faith and I hope that has helped her, his older brother was left more of a question mark, quiet, loving but private. Mom and Dad, I pray for you, no one should have to bury their child.
Zach, I must have played your song thousands of times, to appreciate you, to keep me on my tracks, to learn from you. When I worry in anticipation I think about you and how you handled having cancer with grace (not literally but I’m sure you can see the humor) and love and respect.
You are gone in physical life, but there’s no doubt in my mind that you are spiritually with us, with your family. I hope they get signs from you, I’m sure they would love that and I do believe it is possible. I know it is possible. I hope they believe it too so they can be comforted by your presence. You were an angel on earth, I know you are an angel in heaven. How could you not be? You taught us all how to die peacefully, how to choose when to die instead of prolonging your life with a horrible operation just for a few months. Being a mom, I respect your parents so much for doing the right thing, and it WAS the right thing, to let you do what you want.
I hope everyone has recovered just a bit from the shock. Because as much as you try to be prepared for death, it’s always a horrible, dreadful surprise, no matter when it happens. Trust me, I do know. But, this is not about me, it’s about you.
I send my prayers to your family and to your close friends, and to you dear Zach I send my love and my thanks for teaching us, those still here on earth what it means to be an angel.
Music ~ Be There For You (Photo credit: Daniel CJ Lee)
I have written songs in my dreams for many years. I don’t write songs every night, but once in a while I write the lyrics in my sleep, beautiful words are strung together that blend into a harmonious chorus. Upon wakening, I forget everything. It’s time to take out the notepad and put it right next to me for these times, to try to force myself to remember my dreams and to remember the words to a song that needs to be sung.
Consciously, I don’t know what the songs are about although anything that has to do with me must have love in it and probably conflict too. They generally go together, don’t they? Love spreading it’s wings, love in nature too: the ocean’s symbol for how unpredictable life can be, the sun, darkness, tragedies, the magic of birth, love, that unite us all. It only takes one lit candle to give light to another. When I was young I thought the world was a friendly place, united and peaceful but I have given up hope. I’m not innocent anymore; I’ve seen too many senseless tragedies to believe that the world is good, too many jaded memories, too many senseless killings.
Physically, my body aches, I can tell when I have a fever when my legs hurt and my skin is sensitive. The throbbing in my head has been constant, aspirin and allergy pills have done nothing. My dog is having a barking competition with the dog next door and that is making my head ache even more. Music, which always soothes me, doesn’t help, even on the lowest volume so I turn it off and lay flat on the bed. My blankets cover me, I try to close my eyes but my arms shake and there is something uncomfortable about me, an illness I cannot define. Is it Fibromyalgia? Is it a virus? Is it a reaction to the flu shot? Is it my auto immune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis? Whatever it is when will it go away?
It turns out it takes the better part of the week but it is leaving my body now and for that I am grateful. I realize, however, that I am saddled with two difficult diseases that make anything hard to live with and to diagnose. Sorry, I don’t mean to be disrespectful but that part alone sucks. I try not to dwell on the chronic illnesses they just pop up in situations like these, I know I have to live with them, co-exist, not in peace but in acceptance.
I look around my bedroom and I feel uneasy, it is the one room I would like to organize and fall in love with again but I certainly don’t have the energy to do it now. I need to love my bedroom, but I can’t, there is too much clutter. Clutter everywhere, this room used to be my sanctuary, a place I would go to be at peace. Now, it represents too much garbage and disorganization, books, perfume, two kinds of deodorant, an old coffee mug, a bottle of water, a flashlight, a phone, old photographs and that is just in one space. I know this is not good for me, I realize it.
I need to clean, to put things in their proper places, to organize my space, my world, inside and out. Whether or not I capture the words of my songs on paper, I need to sort things out in all aspects of my life. I know that once the physical space is clear, I will make the choice, that the music will be a wonderfully complicated, song with a lot of tenderness, love, warmth, grief and of course, a touch of the blues. It’s real life, after all.
Shhh! This is top-secret so don’t tell anyone about this plan. It’s just between you and me, don’t forget it. Remember that dull party that you go to every Spring? The one with over 200 people who you know and enjoy and I don’t know anyone? Yes, that one. Every time I go with you, you leave me alone and start patting the backs of other guys, drinking your red wine and your bottles of beer and I am left sitting at an empty table pretending to smile, drinking my soda or cranberry juice.Or, I just walk around the room looking like a lost soul. As soon as I see food coming out of the kitchen I eat as many of the appetizers as I can because as we all know, those are the best. I’ve learned where the kitchen doors open and where the waiters and waitresses come out and I position myself carefully. I love those bite size appetizers, I would never leave before I had my fill of those delicate little flaky morsels. Sometimes they have crab meat ragoon inside them, tender and moist, jumbo shrimp with cocktail sauce, teriyaki chicken or pigs in a blanket which I dunk in creamy mustard.There are always a wide assortment of appetizers, fresh vegetables with a dill yogurt sauce, a large fruit salad, the bright red strawberries gleam with pride, four or five different wedges of cheese and assorted crackers, hummus, pita chips and a sushi bar.
It is after this period, before they serve the dreary buffet dinner with people waiting in long lines that I plan my escape. No one is looking at me anyway so it really isn’t risky. I slip out of the basement room which is extremely crowded and if anyone is around me I murmur that I am going to the bathroom. Anyone who knows me, knows that I do that often anyway. I climb the brown velvet steps, I have my beige cardigan around me ( wearing nothing flashy on purpose) and I step outside into the cool Spring air.
We have come in two cars so I hand the ticket to the attendant, slip him a crisp 5 dollar bill, smile and drive away. The restaurant/banquet hall is so busy tonight because it’s on a weekend. I happen to know that they are always busy on weekends, every single weekend they host weddings as well; I checked.
I start driving, my suitcase is already loaded in the trunk, there’s a brown paper bag filled with clear bags of almonds and raisins, diet orange soda, small bottles of Pellegrino, four ham and cheese sandwiches on rye with Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Lay’s baked potato chips. For dessert I have purchased a big pack of softly baked chocolate chip cookies that I bought at Costco, you can imagine the size of that bag!
I have CD’s in the car, and no where in particular to go, I love that feeling. I just drive, I have no idea where I am going and where I will end up. It really doesn’t matter, does it? I’m alone, free, with no responsibilities, no one to put me down. I go from one bridge to tunnel to highway and I don’t fuss because I am lost. I’m not lost. I’m free. I open the window halfway, put on the radio and sing out loud. I don’t know where I’m going and that is the plan. Wherever I end up will be the place I choose, for a short time, that is, until I decide it’s time to go again. I love the feeling, living for me, just me, on the road with nothing to hold me back. The gas tank is full, I’m just following the stars and singing out loud, no one complaining that my voice is off-key. This is my kind of adventure, no one telling me what to do or where to go. Maybe I’ll adopt a dog and tie a red bandana around its neck. That would make it perfect. Me and my dog on a journey to nowhere yet everywhere.
Description unavailable (Photo credit: The Mitochondrion)