Time change

I did not get  a photograph of the snow geese as they left Andrus Island today.  My friend Candice and I stood talking about the Spring Market.  We raised our faces towards the sky as the flocks passed overhead.  Goodbye, I called.  See you next year.  Hundreds of them formed perfect angles in the cloudless azure expanse.  They called across the air; I heard their eagerness.  My heart quickened but my feet stood still on the ground.

I have neither eye nor lens to capture such majesty.  I can get the blurry image of a ship through my windshield, or the small segment seen through my rudimentary Canon’s fully extended zoom.  My heart will keep the sight of them; their outstretched wings, their timeless, exquisite pattern, the glorious start of their perennial journey.

In the afternoon, I walked myself through another fifty pages of editing on my book.  (I swoon as I say that; words uttered like a promise to a child.  You promised, you know you did.)  I went outside to stare at the earth in the large pots of my new trees.  I strain to recall what the woman at the nursery told me about watering gardenias.  In the end I decide to pour a half-watering can into each container.  I have no idea if I’m doing the right thing. 

My mother had a rule about potted plants.  She watered them once a week and repotted them once a year.  If they needed anything else, they either died or adapted.  At the time of her own death, she had 263 house plants.  What we kids did not take shriveled within a few months.  My father must have been as clueless as I am.  My succulents do well, though; apparently, they tolerate abuse better dwarf limes (fruitless after one season) and ornamental grasses.

Soon the fullness of spring will be upon us here in the California Delta.  The rains have abated.  We had less than I expected; the vineyards will probably suffer.  The winds spared us, too; at least so far.  When I went out onto the porch this afternoon, I heard the high squawk of the cranes.  They soon will find another place, a familiar place, a place to which they have come every year just as they come every year to my island.  I will be left with the stragglers:  My lonely egrets; a pair of reluctant herons seen across the water; a handful of geese that seem loathe to leave the fertile fields.

Night falls.  An owl hoots from one of the tall oaks.  The answering cry reverberates across the meadow, long and deep.  I am left to wonder what they have said to one another; and whether they have taken comfort from their exchange.

It’s the fifth day of the eighty-seventh month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

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