It is very warm this evening for the first day of February and it is raining a little and the frogs in the little pond are chirping and chirping and I suppose that they have come out of their winter stupor already if that is indeed, what frogs do. Their chorus is merry and lighthearted-sounding, not the frantic calling for love that they will sing about soon. I hear frogs in the swamp behind the railroad tracks singing their song too. They sing, they take breaks, they start up again.
Jessie and Vergil were here most of the day, although Vergil left with Mr. Moon a little after noon to go to a basketball game. Jessie got up to find me on my knees in the garden. "Where is everyone?" she asked. She and I watched TV together with Greta curled between us and Maurice on Jessie's lap. Maurice was happy to share space with Greta although once, when Greta moved more than Maurice was happy about, she bit Greta's elbow which caused Greta to wonder what she had done. I knitted and we watched a rerun of Bill Maher's show that had the beloved genius Mel Brooks on and then we watched a bit of Mel's HBO special. Also, a George Clooney movie. Far more TV watching than I usually do in a week but it was fun. Mel Brooks told a story about Cary Grant and Jessie did not know who he was. I told her that he was the original George Clooney and showed her pictures of him on my phone. She agreed. We both also agreed that George Clooney is just way too charming and that his smile can make your heart burst.
When the guys came back, they finished up fixing the front gate and the garden gate and now Jessie and Vergil have gone home and Mr. Moon is watching the game by himself although others may show up. I hope so. I made enough guacamole for at least four hungry men. I suppose that I could help eat it. I'd hate for it to go waste. And it really is very fine guacamole.
I'm feeling quiet tonight, reflective. I read the obituary today of the girl whose mother I saw in the hospital on Monday. She died on Friday. Jesus. Turns out that Lily went to school with her, sang with her in chorus. I just...can't. No. Imagine.
Our children. So fragile and so sturdy.
"My children are my life," the girl's mother told on Monday morning, her eyes wired from two days of no sleep, of coffee and no food, of no hope but trying to believe there was. "You know," she said. "You're the same way. The same way I am."
She was right.
And now I've just gone out to shut up the chickens and I found Miss Ozzie dead, stretched out on the floor of the hen house, not two feet away from where Miss Bob died a few months ago.
Ah, but the old hens are going. I knew she was close. And Dovie is not far behind them.
Life and death, death and life. Why is it always so shocking when someone, something dies? We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we all will. But still, whether we find a butterfly on the road, dead and still beautiful, or when an aged parent dies or a beloved hen or...that which I can hardly bear to talk about...goes on into death- we are stunned. Sometimes for a moment. Sometimes for forever. Knowing full well that this is the course of it.
And we think now that it is unnatural and the most unfair of all for a child to die before a parent but wasn't that the norm not that many years ago? Aren't there cultures who still do not name a child before his or her third birthday because after age three, survival is more certain?
Still. It is. Hideously unfair if not unnatural.
And so a day spent on a couch watching TV with one of my children, cuddled with dog and with cat was a day well-spent.
The rain comes down. The frogs chirp and peep and sing and talk. They sing of life, don't they? I think they do.
Rest in peace, daughter of the woman I sort of know. Rest in peace, sweet Ozzie who was so funny and such a good layer of beautiful green eggs. Be in peace, all of us who grieve.
Or as much peace as there can be.