Crowz Nest

Because it's time... as it was once before.

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Location: Port Murray, NJ

I'm a bit old to be starting out in life again, but that's where I am. Sadly. Or gladly. It's where I am. Come along. Watch the fun. Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stopping time

From this ...

... to this.

Happy birthday, Hudson. Nine years flew by, and so much has happened in my life. Your unfailingly cheery outlook, and your ever-ready, open, trusting heart remain my retreat.

I am now officially stopping the clock....

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Looking out my back door

When I moved into my house four years ago, my life was pretty much in tatters. I was among the walking wounded, for a number of reasons. I found the little (don't forget "cute and quaint") house in which I live, with a yard that was sufficient for my dogs, insufficient for my horse (despite my dreams to the contrary) and just about as much as I could handle on my own. It didn't seem perfect, but it was what I could afford, and as the farm where I lived was going to be closed on out-from-under me, I didn't have a lot of time to look further. I was tired, terrified, and on my own for the first time in my life.

I settled in. I coped. With the help of friends, I learned how to do things I'd never been required to do before in my life, ranging from dealing with "the system," navigating my way through the legalities and financial decisions of buying a home, learning how to fix whatever went wrong (even if that occasionally required hiring someone who knew how,) to getting down on my hands and knees in the dirt to weed, to plant. I'd grown up with brothers, and I'd married young, so there had always been men around to shovel the snow, to rake the leaves, to mow the lawn. Some of them did these things well; others not so well, but either way, my involvement with these activities was always voluntary, auxiliary, and nothing I ever had to do. And certainly, I'd never had to rely upon myself to get it all done. I told myself to grow up, and I did what had to be done. Sometimes I enjoyed it. Other times I resented it. Most of the time, I just did it without thinking.

There are times when the floors need to be scrubbed; other times when the birds' cages could be cleaner; days when the laundry should already have been done, when the dogs' nails might have been trimmed, their coats brushed; there are certainly times when the weeding gets ahead of me, and when the weather won't allow me to get the lawns mowed when they're already a tad shaggy - but overall, I get it all done, and I don't do such a bad job of any of it. I may not have the cleanest house in town, my yard may not be the best kept, and my garden is certainly not a showcase, but it all gets done.

The first year or so, the demands of doing all of the day to day things were balanced by a certain pride in conquering some of my fears and learning so many new things. Sometimes the pride was solely in being able to keep up, but other times, it was in being able to stand back and admire a job truly well-done. Soon, however, the glowing pride faded, and it just became my life. Out of the depths of grief, sorrow and trauma, I had truly emerged, but I found myself on very level ground, just getting through the days, and doing what needed to be done. Not many highs, but not many lows. Day to day, it was all okay.

Recently, something's happened in my life that's made me realize that I really love my little (quaint and cute) house, and that, with my animals (my family,) what we've done is quite wonderful. We have built a life, in a wonderful, sweet little home, and that all I have to do to realize what I have here is just open my back door.

Today was a dark, stormy, rainy day, with one thunder storm after another, high winds, teeming rain, and black, black skies. As the afternoon went on, though, the ceiling lifted, and though the sun is still not out, the light has softened to a gentle grey. Colors are saturated and deep, the earth smells sated and full, and the air in my back yard is scented with the gentle perfume of peonies and primrose.

Look out my back door -
- there are parklike vistas ...

- there are peonies in the pink ...

- and just look at my Crow and the way she looks at me when I come home. Everything I need is right outside my back door. And now that I have noticed, I am, finally, home.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Luna magic

I have a couple of other blog entries dancing around in my brain that I just haven't gotten around to writing. There was that special morning at the foo-foo spa, a luxury I afforded myself while my car was being worked on and there was nothing else to do while I waited. And a wonderful birthday I've completely elided over, not because it wasn't the completely wonderful day that it was, but I mean really, do we still have to count every single year? And there was the great day at Citifield with my brother, marred by a stinky performance by our team, but marked by a most unlikely encounter with an acquaintance of his. Some of this was sublime, some of it ridiculous, but I simply haven't had the time to chronicle every single event of the spring.

The last two nights an unexpected visitor outside my back door has slowed me down, and begs mention here. Every night, as I prepare to go to bed, I let the dogs out for "last outs" while I ready the house for the night. I go down and make sure the outside light is turned off, and that the kitchen door is locked. I check to be certain that Duncan, my rat, has food and water for his nocturnal bumping-in-the-night. I go up and check on my birds, making sure that Dover, my cockatiel, isn't in a draft, that Kiwi and Ziggy are tucked in, and that everyone has fresh water. I wash my face and brush my teeth, set out clothes for the morning and put on my pajamas. And then I return to the living room and open the back door to call the dogs back in.

Last night, when I opened the back door, something fairly large hit the screen, bounced off, and flew away in a swooping circle. I could hear its wings, quite audible and papery as it flew. It arced around, and returned to the door, and then it hit the light and fluttered to the ground just as the dogs came cantering up. Hudson came inside without noticing it, but it rose into the air about a yard, making a tight spiral, the flapping of its wings quite loud, just as Crow arrived. She moved to investigate it, but as it fluttered back to the ground, I asked her to leave it alone and she came inside. I stepped out and bent to take a closer look at our visitor, and as I did so, once again it rose into the air, heading toward the spotlight.

It bumped up against the light quite hard a couple of times, knocking itself back, flying a drunken route around it. Then, it circled my head, and finally, surprisingly, came to a landing on my right forearm. Spectacular. It had long, fuzzy feelers up front, and two long tails behind, which scissored slightly when it landed. Its little feet tickled as it walked down my arm toward my hand. It was easily half again as wide as my hand, it's wing span more than 4 inches across. Its wings, which had appeared to be highly translucent and nearly white while it was in flight, seemed to solidify before my eyes, and were actually a delicate shade of green. It sported two eye spots high on its shoulders and two others, more pronounced on its lower wings.

I was enthralled as it examined the back of my hand and then took off once more, landing at my feet. I didn't have my camera, as I generally don't carry it in my pj's. So, I thanked it for the visit, and came in to bed. When I woke hours later to the sound of a steady, soaking rain, after a brief moment of consciously loving the coziness of being warm and dry in bed, snuggled deeply between my two wonderful dogs while listening to it fall outside my window, my thoughts quickly turned to my visitor. How could its parchment wings survive such a downpour? Indeed, how long do such fragile and ephemeral beings come to stay at all?

It rained all night, and most of today, sometimes a lovely soft, misty rain, but at other times quite heavily. Often, I found myself thinking about my visitor, wondering how it could possibly survive. So you can imagine my delight when I went to call the dogs in a little while ago, and found my visitor once again fluttering around the spotlight. This time, I did grab the camera and stuck it in my pocket before I went out. I spent a little time with her, and offered her a drink from a leaf, which she took with her amazing tongue. She is a luna moth, as a brief search of the internet revealed to me. "Just" a moth. And just like the tiny hummingbird moth who visited the phlox in my garden a couple of summers ago, she has managed to stop time for me, quietly slowing my step, and forcing me, however briefly, to step back into the deep stillness of wonder.