Jilly D.

Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

Life is short. Be happy. That’s a bunch of hooey.

In Mourning on June 28, 2011 at 4:04 am

Twenty one months, thirteen days.

Be happy. I keep hearing it, reading it, even working at it. Hooey. Ain’t happening yet.  I still miss Sam so much and the pain still so physical and real that I just can’t be “happy.”  Getting closer to okay.

Can I laugh? Yeah. Can I sustain the feeling of good humor? The five seconds after a punchline, yes. Otherwise it would take the tinkling bells of an ice cream wagaon coming up the street slowly to sustain a steady grin.

Life is short. Don’t I know that.

Time is the most precious resource of all. I am so glad I spent every waking day of a decade in the presence of the man I loved. I didn’t waste any of our time together.

Sam used to say: you can always make more money but you cannot make more time. 

I am taking my own time mourning.


Who is that tweeting? Baby birds!

In Friends, Time and seasons, Uncategorized on June 18, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Twittering outside the front door are five baby robins. In one week they have grown from featherless fetuses to fat and happy chirpers. Mother Robin can’t fit in the nest anymore. She sits on the next cottage’s roof watching. She flits in and out of the space around the nest holding tempting worms near enough for them to snatch the snack.

first bird out of the egg

First one out of the egg to squawk

As the seasons changed, the nest grew and made this place my home. I used to lay in bed with my eyes closed and Sam still snoring gently and welcome the sound of dawn. Birds sing just before the light of the sun’s first rays. Such a simple symphony.
The welcome chirping of these robins’ arrival brightens my morning. I have watched their tiny heads grow feathers and turn into near fledglings. I filled my hanging basket with begonias and snapdragons  and strategically placed it as a fairy landing zone for fledglings to fall into as they begin to test their wings. 
Watching the incredibly rapid pace of growth and development of these young’uns fascinates me as though living though time-lapse technology might be possible. Look and look again: see change.
baby robins

Five fit for about a minute

Change happens so fast that when I stepped out five minutes ago to see how big they were, looked like only one was left in the nest. Another sat on a paperbag in a basket I had outside the door. The bird sat and stared at me.
I pulled up a chair. We looked at each other for a while. The bird’s funny tufts of baby hair gave it a comic look. This fledging had taken its maiden voyage from the nest. I was its’ first experience at eye level with a human.  We studied one another. I took a few pictures.
 Amidst the planted herbs right outside my door, I sat and stared back. That baby bird and I had a silent conversation of glances and good vibes.
Then I got the footstool to peek in and see if this was the first or the last fledgling. How come nobody told me about the big liftoff? Guess the silence was the big crescendo to the event. There’s at least one more left in the nest. For sure.
I wait and watch to see if this bird will pop its  head out and at least look around as to where everyone else went. Instead, the baby seems to be panting. It’s a warm afternoon. Too hot to fly?
Mother Robin flies in and then diverts her landing to the neighbor’s porch perch. A big juicy worm drips out of her beak. I back up and away from the nest and walk into the lawn to watch the fledging’s last catered meal. Sure enough. Mama flits over to the next and two heads bob up and pull apart the tasty treat.
By tomorrow morning, the sweet chirping will be more distant as they’ve taken flight and their wings now carry them to the trees, fields, and hills around me. I think my little friend will be back. Sometime. First impressions bode well.

Northern Lights

In Pictures and memories, Signs from beyond, Uncategorized on June 15, 2011 at 1:35 am

            “Don’t fall asleep,” Shireen whispered as we crawled into her bed. “Watch the sky in my mirror,” she said. At the foot of the bed was a built-in set of drawers and bureau top adorned with her glasses horses lined up before the desk mirror. “When you can see light in the mirror, it’s time for the show,” Shireen murmured.

            There was a closet with sliding doors on her side and the wall on my side of the bed. The bedroom was half the width of the trailer and at the end of the hall. Not much room for more than the bed. Above our head was a window as wide as the bed.  I saw its reflection begin to glow.

            I sat up in bed and turned around and knelt before this theater of rural spectacle. My nose pressed against the window screen. I pushed my nose further until the hatch marks disappeared from my vision and left a big nose print in the screen. I knelt on the pillows and focused on the midnight darkness. My elbows rested on the window sill.

            Staring at the horizon of pine trees and scrub along the hedgerows, colors began to dance. Streaks of green, blues, purples jumped the horizon. Flashes of reds and oranges, lime and lemon appeared in the sky’s landscape.

            Uncle Al and Aunt Audrey were still talking low in the living room with mom and dad.  Audrey’s laughter echoed mom’s and I could hear Al ask dad, “Heh, want another Hamm’s?”

            Shireen knelt elbow to elbow with me staring out the window above the headboard. She looked out into the field to find her mare, Beebe, a red quarter horse, grazing on green pasture.

            My wide eyes witnessed something that provided proof of earth’s undulating energy, its pulse, the charged ions floating in space. Inside that double-wide trailer stuck on a swatch of flat farmland along the last highway before the border, the forces of nature – both gentle and fierce – played out above my head.

            The ephemeral Aurora Borealis filled by body on that July night just outside Warroad, Minnesota, on Lake of the Woods.  The flood of mystical memories flash before on certain night’s skies.  My flesh still responds viscerally to the retelling, like the goosebumps that came on that hot July night.

            At dawn, my head popped up to the window. I rubbed the sleep sand from my eyes. There sat Uncle Al in the garden on his haunches like an Indian. I stared at him. Up well before the sun, he seemed so relaxed in a physical position I found difficult to do in gym class. He relaxed balancing on his bare feet among the plants. Six foot tall and lanky, Al didn’t bend over; he squatted so far down deep it made me stare harder. Still and centered, he worked there pulling weeds from the beans.

            I watched while he worked silently down the row. He had a pan he pulled along with him. From this pan his fingertips slipped something into the ground where he pulled the weeds out. I kept looking. Harder. I took a deep morning breath. Smelled like, hmmm, raw fish.

            Fish. The sun was up. Al had been out on the boat already. Caught Walleye pike. He’d just fileted them in the garage and buried the waste to fertilize. Then he was off to the post office for a 9 to 5 government job. He’d be back most days for the noon hour. Didn’t usually take a lunch, but might get the lawn half mowed.

            That day he called me out to the garden with a pan in his hand and two kittens at his heels.

            “Do you know how to pick peas, Jill?” My uncle took me aside alone; he wasn’t trying to embarrass me as my father’s kid from the Twin Cities. Al didn’t look me in the eye. He just showed me with his hands. I watched him work the vines. He pushed before he pulled.

            Like a wedding veil, I tenderly grasped the vines back to reveal the fat pods. I pushed the pod toward where it attached to the vine and then gently tugged. It popped off into my hand. I started picking. I did it again. I looked at Uncle Al’s hands. I watched how he touched them; sometimes he held on and then let go of a pod.

            Shireen washed all the lunch dishes and then came out to the garden and helped me pick. We worked all eight rows in the garden and had a big bucket of peas in their pods by mid-afternoon.

            Mom was so thrilled to see what we girls had accomplished, she told us to put up our feet. She ushered us to chairs at the dining room table. She knew where Audrey kept things in the cupboard and quickly found two big bowls which she placed between us. Shireen knew what was coming; I didn’t. What did I know at 11 years old?

            While Aunt Audrey, dad and mom got to look at photo albums and catch up over a cup of coffee and pie, Shireen and I shelled peas the rest of the afternoon. Dad slipped away to the Trading Post in town for souvenirs and postcards and then to the bar where he’d meet Al after work for a beer with his buddies. Only one Hamm’s on tap; fresh fish for dinner.

            After a delicious dinner of pan-fried lightly breaded fresh Walleye and sweet steamed peas, we girls did the dishes and got into our pajamas. The show was about to begin again. Aurora Borealis. I’m a girl witness to God’s handiwork.

Turtle crosses the Road

In Mourning, Signs from beyond on June 12, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Dawn after rain leaves a morning peace. Walking Scooby first, that red-winged blackbird accompanies us in that first fresh air in the nose. Singing above our heads, blackbird clucks and whistles. Hopping from perch to perch along the telephone wire, blackbird watches us over my shoulder and sings of grace.

A good night sleep and a keen morning conscious sensibility give me the assurance my relations with Sam as blackbird are not a dream. I go back to the cottage and put Lucy on the leash. We walk in the other direction and still that bird hovers above my head. Lucy and I lope down the road and towards Central Chapel Road.

At the bottom of the hill I see some kind of creature scurrying across the blacktop road. I couldn’t see well enough to discern the kind of critter. We walk toward it and Lucy didn’t even seem to notice or mind. A rabid squirrel? an otter? a fox? I didn’t slow down to see what it was.

About twenty feet away, the shape revealed a turtle’s shell. I had never seen a turtle running so fast with such long legs. It disappeared into the long grass and down into the ditch quick.  Made me laugh.

Sam. Everywhere I go, he’s there. He’s in my heart.

Sam checks up on me

In Mourning, Signs from beyond on June 5, 2011 at 4:42 pm

This morning I was walking Scooby in the field through the pink twinflowers, oxeye daisies, hawkeyes and wild strawberries. A red-winged blackbird came up over our heads and beat its wings and chirped furiously.

“I am here. I am watching,” Sam seemed to speak to me in the language of fluttering winds. We always spent Sunday mornings together. The blackbird hovered above our heads as we walked back to the road and down the hill. Sitting atop a small maple near the driveway, the bird watched us walk back to the cottage.

Sam appeared to me this past Friday morning, too. He likes to catch me unaware. Driving toward the Brookton Market and the Brooktondale Post Office, I hesitated a moment. I looked at the clock on the dashboard to see if I had time to run to the post office before my meeting at the market.  When I looked up from the dash to the road, there was a large Whitetail standing right in my path in the center of the road. He looked me right in the eye and I heard Sam’s voice in my head: “don’t be late.” I slowed down and the deer turned and walked off towards the Market.

I think Sam has taken up residence here just outside the cottage door in the form of a Robin who has built a nest above the porchlight fixture. Almost every time I go in or out I am greeted by her attempts to protect her nest and my new home.  I don’t dare disrupt her roost to see if there are pretty blue eggs in there. I wait with the hope of hearing babies chirp anyday.