Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Got Spring?

We do.

That fat fellow is one of the many, many robins in my yard this morning along with the blackbirds which are still here and the cardinals, ditto, and the woodpeckers of all sorts and sizes and doves and wrens and sparrows and finches and right now, at the feeder, there are enough of the blackbirds to bake into a pie and set before the king.

I have planted my peas, a long fence-row of them, and this year, my boy is old enough so that when they grow and make their pods, he'll be able to pick and eat them, right there in the garden, right beside the pansies which he picks and pops into his mouth and eats with relish, not dill, not sweet, but just plain old relish and delight. He gave one out of his hand to Elvis the other day, a yellow one. I think Owen likes the yellow pansies best. He really must like the way they taste because otherwise, he would not eat them. Believe me.

I have already talked to Kathleen this morning. She's at work and will be heading off south this afternoon to say good-bye to her ex-husband who is in a hospice, doing the hard work of dying. Yesterday he was unresponsive all day but has opened his eyes today. Who knows? He may look at Kathleen and ask her if she brought him any fried chicken and live for months but maybe not. And her heart- that woman's heart. She is going down there for him. To give him some peace so that his journey on can go smoothly.

Kathleen is sometimes worried about how she will die. She wants to do it "right" and well. I keep telling her that we die the way we live and so she will do it beautifully because she does everything beautifully and full-hearted.

I hope I will too.
I do.

I don't think there is any one right way to die any more than there is any one right way to live.
We would all like to go quickly and gracefully and with dignity but as with childbirth, and with life itself, we cannot always plan how it will all go. And life, as we all know, can be messy and complicated and there are those of us who would, if we could, get up off our deathbeds and tidy up and straighten the sheets and give the flowers in the room fresh water and make tea for those who are with us and then lay back down and go like an angel, the tea in our loved ones' cups still steaming and sweet with honey, a smile on our faces and then, we'd open our eyes and hand out freshly laundered handkerchiefs and then finally, really go.

Ah yah.

I did not set out to write about death this morning and I'm not depressed at all, or even anxious so much, just contemplative. I wonder what it is about death that we're so damn worried about. Okay, I give you the fact that there may be pain but morphine has been invented and can be used so that's not such a worry. No, it's more the Big Questions of where do we go, and really, will this universe sill carry on without us? How can that be?

Who knows? Not me.

And it is comforting to me to think that I will not care after I die. I'll be dead. Well, that's me. Selfish to the end.

I remember when my friend Sue died and at the wake an old friend of hers said, "She ain't paying rent no more," and that cracked open my consciousness a little bit and comforted me a great deal. Death does have its advantages.

But I am not dead nor dying either one any more than all of us are, but here on this beautiful day with my peas in the ground and a pot of pinto beans already brought to the boil and turned off for later cooking and surrounded on all sides by life of every kind and I have things to do and a walk to take through the woods and then to town and maybe I'll see that boy of my daughter's, that boy who has my heart, who is my payment towards immortality.

The trillium is coming up under the big mama oak out front so bursting with variegated life that it takes my breath,

coming up out of old dirt and last year's leaves, and there is sprouting everywhere.
Some of the sprouting you must look down to see and some you must look up to see but here it is, there is no shortage of it, it has not become gaudy and in your face yet, it is still subtle but if you have the eye to see it and the desire, you will find it.

The dog stretches and does yoga

the chickens scratch in contentment in the yard, all but Shalayla who is on the nest giving me her egg for the day and the hush, hush, hush...

Can you hear it?

Notes pour forth from a bird's small throat and I can hear the wings of the cardinals as they fly in to the feeder and then away, that indescribable sound of thrupping.

It is a very good day to be alive and it wouldn't be a bad day to die, either and I think of all the people whom I do not know who are lying in childbed, giving birth with great effort and joy, I think of those who lie on deathbed, slipping away from us and I am overwhelmed at all I do not know, what I cannot see, but I can feel some of it.

Here I am. There you are.

And as if he could read my mind, the rooster next door crows to remind me that he, too, is here, right here and then Elvis chimes in too, he is here too, watchful over his sister-wives, ever vigilant, and soon the peas will announce their arrival with their dirt-birth of new green and yes, we have spring and it is so good.


  1. It is a good day, indeed, though I miss you and Lily and Owen as well, not for any reason except that I haven't seen them in a little while.

    I would rather be there than here, but here is better than most places, really.

  2. Back in DC from sunny Florida is a rude, rude awakening. UGH its so cold.

    I am working from home today since protesters are crowding my building, and I wonder again at this weird, weird world we live in. It makes me want to just go scratch in the dirt with you and the chickens

  3. I'm going to eat some yellow pansies, since Owen recommends them.

    I love the Zeke-doing-yoga-photo. First thing that's made my grouchy ass smile today.

    I love you more than my luggage!


  4. He'll have peas! Peas are the best, he'll love them so much. It's so funny he's still eating flowers :)

  5. Oh Ms. Moon! There is so much here for me to digest, and I am also scrolling back to find (with delight) that I have lots of catching up to do with your posts. Here I go, and I am thanking you in advance. And, the little rascally sparrows are eating my pansies, without permission.

  6. DTG- Maybe we should plan a family vacay again. We had such a good time when we went to Weeki Wachee. Do you think Owen could appreciate the mermaids yet?
    And until then- lunch SOON!
    I love you so.

    SJ- Man. We live in totally different worlds, don't we? Glad you got a tiny bit of Florida at least.

    Ms. Bastard-Beloved- I LOVE YOU MORE THAN MY PURSE! Okay, that's not in the play but I do.

    Jo- Only the pansies.

    Laura- Sparrows and little boys do not need permission to eat the pansies.

  7. No, I don't got Spring yet. But I've got wonderful blog peeps all over the continent who are sharing theirs with me to help me make it until mine sets in. We are predicted for more ice and snow today, I wish it would rain or snow, the inbetween stuff is so dangerous. Anyway,
    I thought I had some pretty trilliums, but yours, I could look at for days. Please post another when it it opens, so my envy can be complete.
    I'm very contemplative about the life/death conundrum today as well. Thank goodness I have lunch with friends to distract me.
    Hugs, and thanks again for the pictures and the words.

  8. I think we should wait a couple more years for Owen to meet the mermaids, but you know I'm going to push for a day trip down the river for my birthday again.

  9. Yes why is that death hangs over our minds? Where with birth and it's hours (days for some) of awakening womanhood brings fulfillment. I know of good Christians who long for death and the afterlife. I was shielded from death and the dying growing up. It made me feel that death was spooky and morbid. I didn't learn of the relief from suffering that death brings. The peace that washes over the dying when the last breath is exhaled. I still feel some fear that I have of it but it is the loss of the person, the selfishness of not wanting them to be gone from my life. My own of not seeing, holding, loving, laughing, breathing, smelling, the essence of life taken from me. Will I greet it differently when the time comes?

    Ah the thoughts I swirl in my head.

    I like to bask in the sunshine that your poochie doing his 'yoga' is in...the hens clucking as they eat and scratch. The mawing sound they make of look for the new growth of your new plants..seeing the someday photos of Owen nibbling on those peas...

    Morning Mary...morning and good our hearts and breathe

  10. Whenever I start to feel overly anxious about anything that has to do with the world -- events, politics, climate, etc., I tell myself that it's really about the fear of dying. Then I feel better. I think it's when children come into one's head that dying seems so awful.

  11. I like how you wrote that your friend's comment comforted you- about not paying rent. It amazes me how strange, off hand remarks or observations can comfort me so much, or make me see things in a new light.

  12. Did not Aristotle insist that the contemplative life is best?

    I really love this post Ms. Moon, I guess i have been super enveloped in my own little world, but this reminds me of that much larger existence right outside my door, from the chickens in the yard to the bustling city and everything that is happening in between, behind doors and in front.
    It never stops does it?
    - I am excited about your pea plants and cannot wait to plant my own! My god there is nothing quite like fresh peas and new potatoes!

  13. Mel- Life and death. When there is nothing else to contemplate, these will do.
    I will post more trillium pictures. I promise.

    DTG- Can't WAIT! I swear though- I think by next year Owen will be completely perfect for mermaid meeting.

    Ellen- Maybe because I am so close to the dirt here I don't think of death as something odd or spooky. It just is. But get back to me when my time is near...

    Elizabeth- Too damn true. I know.

    Maggie May- Wisdom thrown off-hand. Epiphanies caught in the tailspin.

    Amber Elise- There is nothing truer than fresh peas and potatoes.

  14. No spring yet...another foot of snow last weekend and more coming this weekend.

    Doggie yoga is exceptionally cute and I'm hoping for a picture of Owen eating pansies.

    Being born and dying...the two experiences that all humans share, but I doubt its the same for any two people. It's not depressing just an inevitable part of life.

  15. I do believe that is the most beautiful trillium I have ever seen -- those variegated leaves! And the image of the O-boy eating yellow pansies...Happy, Happy thoughts. x0 N2

  16. Death during the day I can handle. Well, the thought of it I mean. The reality not quite yet, please. But int he middle of the night the thought just makes me watch TV and hyperventilate in my bed. Which is ridiculous. I try to hang on to the thought that we didn't exist before we were born either and that doesn't scare us, so why should the non-being at the other end? That's the thought that helps me. A bit. Sometimes.

    Lovely post.

  17. I am not wanting to think about death today, but your words are true. We never know what the day will bring. I am moving through all that has happened with a feeling that things will be well. I can't doubt that right now.

  18. That's a GREAT photo of a robin. I tried to get one, and I ended up liking it, but somehow the photo turned out a pretty shade of blue and the robin wasn't nearly fat enough...


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