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Friday, April 5, 2013

The Spring and Winter of Self

Artwork by Sandy Giordano
     Here in the Midwest we are perched on the branch of spring.  Forward will lead to the lime green of birth.  Behind lies the reflection of Winter, a long one this year, the reminder we do not control the weather or anything else for that matter.  I have struggled of late with both sides of myself, the rapidly changing wide awake me and the remainder of what used to be.  A great battle has ensued.  I am tottering on the branch, forward momentum will carry the day, but the frigid grip on my heals continues, like the frost stubbornly clinging to the shady side of the lawn.
     Robins are an announcement that my Grandma has come for a visit.  She was a lovely woman who mired in her own bad decisions would not have been addressed as a great mother.  Perhaps noticing this as wrinkled skin overlapped her body, she became a magnificent grandmother.  At that time of her life, no longer worried about a bad marriage or whether there was enough food in the frig, she opened her home to the children of her children. 
     Ahhh.  Grandma's House.
I'd run through the yard and hear her cooing to vibrantly colored birds in an old chicken coop before spotting the beloved round shape.  Spanish sentences cascade all on their own, but when Grandma spoke to the winged ones her lilting voice became dreamy and otherworldly.  The sound was mesmerizing to my 7 year old ears.
     "Hola mis bellas, pajaro cantante.  Cheep, cheep, cheep little birds."
Today, I hear her again when the first Robin of the year lands in the yard.  This is an annual tradition, one which began shortly after embarking on the Wide Awake Journey.  I'm not sure when I noticed the sight of this bird meant Grandma waved hello, but her voice coos in my ear when they are present.
     "Hola mi nina."
     Hi Grandma.
     The week has been a grumbling back and forth between self and self.  One moment a breath finds me and peace becomes my status, a flash later an angry gasp threatens to overwhelm my life fabric.
     What the fuck?
Exiting the office a tear  hovers at the edge of a deep sobbing abyss.  It is late dusk, dark enough to leave deep shadows outside of an exterior light.  To the left something is scuffling in the dirt, while angry chirps come from the dusty violent tangle.  I'm not frightened, but curious enough to forget about crying.  My 52 year old eyes struggle to discern the shapes, though they are close enough to touch.  Eventually I pick out two Robins.  Without thought I react.
     "Hey you two, knock it off."
Hilariously they stop winging and pecking and squawking to stare at where the voice came from.  Two seconds, three, four, they gaze at me.  In the silence flashes of my two dogs and the once young twins eyes remind me I've said these words many times before.  Arriving at the realization I am not their mother and have no real authority, the birds fly to the other side of a fence and roll around in the dirt some more.  But only for a moment or two.  One flies to perch on the fence looking thoughtfully at me again.  The other alights on a nearby branch chirping in my direction.  I bow to them acknowledging their existence.  This moment is enough to remind me of the magic and humor behind all things.  

     Goodnight Grandma.

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