A Yankee's Musing

Monday, May 22, 2006


Bits of color and movement punctuate my backyard, a living collage that seems to celebrate life. Blue jays, purple finches, rosebreasted grosbeaks, red wing blackbirds, cows birds, purple starlings, a robin, flickers, mourning doves, sparrows, vireos, juncoes, creepers, and ravens jockey for space as the chipmunks and red squirrels dart in and about greedily filling their cheeks with seeds. It's good to be home. It has rained since I got here, everyday, and the river rages; but life goes on without missing a beat. it is always so easy to fold into this life without a hitch, without a wrinkle.

There hasn't been a day go by without a friend or acquaintance or two stopping by to catch up on old news and share a cup of coffe or tea at my kitchen table. Their winter stories and individual selves are just as colorful and entertaining as the wildlife out back. It's been an extraordinary winter--little snow, lots of cold, early spring, and first bone-dry, now flooding, then snow last night. As my Dad used to say, "If you don't like the weather, just wait, it'll be different tomorrow."

I met with the Docotor before I left, less than a week after the last operation. She says, no problem, "go forth and prosper." I say I dodged a bullet this time and I left the city as fast as I could before anything changed and got between me and my healing place. So I am home, my touchstone, and the sun just peeked out for about 20 minutes, and now a rainbow skims the tops of the white mountains. I will chock the pot belly stove full tonight, and I will sleep well.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Went to the Central Park Zoo

I'm not one to like animals penned up, and I don't like most zoos. Every once in awhile,I find a really good one like the San Diego Zoo. And sometimes I find one that has good points and bad points. I think the Central Park Zoo is one of those. It is really accessible to all ages and makes a real attempt at a decent habitat for its captives. But there is a space problem. There isn't enough for any of the creatures, really, but what space is provided, it is well maintained. I like going there anyway, and sometimes even alone.

Recently I went to see how the polar bears were doing. It was a hot day and there they were, the big old blind guy and his young mate, swimming and playing. The big guy would almost lift himself completely out of the water on a boulder, then he'd stretch his neck way back and simply let go. He'd land backward with a splash, sink down, then surge to the surface again. I admired him, the way he could trust himself to simply fall backwards into the water as if releasing himself from the tensions of the day and totally relaxing. His mate spent much of the time playing with giant plastic toys, heaving them around in the water, tossing them with her head, diving under them and coming up with them balanced on her nose or hanging from her neck. Occassionally she'd join the big guy, nudge him in the behind, then dive down hoping, I guess, he'd follow. He would make like he would, then at the last minute return to the rock to go through his relaxation exercises again.

They didn't seem to even notice all the people watching. They didn't indicate they even cared. They were focused. I wish I had a pond right now, even a little one, where I could kayak and get focused. I certainly don't think the East River or the Hudson will do. The motorboats out there seem to take potshots at the kayaks, causing wakes to try to submerge them. I'm not interested in that kind of adventure right now. I'm interested in the kind of activity similar to that big old polar bear has, one to lift, stretch back, let go without fear. That's the ultimate in relaxation, and for me, that is kayaking. It can also be risky and challenging, but that aspect is not what I crave this week--it is the quiet time. The moving along without a sound, becoming a part of something else, and forgetting everything beyond that very moment.

But that is not to be. Maybe in a couple of weeks, but not right now. My work is at its usual heightened state right now as I try to finish everything I can so I can head up north to the mountains. And then, there is the added frustration--an operation this Friday. As my doctor said to me, "This one is a breeze compared to what you've been through already." Yes, but it is yet another foray into my body to extricate the wild cells that are partying there. You'd think they would have had enough of that by now; I sure have. So stay focused, get it done, move on, and hope that another round of toxins will not be necessary. Hey, big bear, may I join you for a short dip? Only kidding, big boy.