Well, a few days ago I thought it would be a good idea to sit on my deck and read Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. A perfect way to end a pleasant day – she is another author who teaches me to pause and observe, slow down and wonder. I must have loved this book to death; someone gave it to me about the time 15 years ago when my first marriage was disintegrating. The condition of the book is a metaphor for the marriage: broken spine, yellowed pages, and as I read, chunks of pages fall out so I have to hold on. For whatever reason, I choose not to replace this copy.
I’d only been reading a few minutes outside when I realized this was actually not going to work out. There is way too much going on. The young hawks in the nest up over the cul-de-sac across the way have grown up enough to raise a real ruckus when they’re being fed (I guess.). I can see their parents flying back and forth. And the baby cardinals have hatched in my backyard so I can see Mom and Dad feeding them at least once a day, down the slope, usually in the hedge or the wild black cherry tree. For the past several evenings, about six o’clock, I’ve had to walk to the wet section at the bottom of my yard because every two days or so, something comes by at night and digs up my Black Velvet Elephant Ear so I have to put it back in the ground, hoping the creature will eventually find something else to snack on. And when I sit on the deck, I always glance at the cat’s water bowl. Every morning the bowl is near empty so there must be evening visitors to this oasis other than Oscar. I wonder who? Last year bobcats were spotted in my county.
The other evening, I finally gave up on Ms. Dillard and put the book down. Mother Nature was much too interesting. I listened to the crows laughing from the neighbor’s chimney – they’d just finished dining at another neighbor’s birdfeeder – and some kids were playing ball and another neighbor was barbecuing. I just sat and stared and tried not to think about the things I really should have been doing.
And then, later: a reward. I came back outside, after dinner when things were calming down, and the lamplight glimmered off my gold car and down the end of the driveway, up above, a crescent moon and the Evening Star rising overhead with dignity.