Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Things we miss

There's a little black bird in the yard right now pecking away under the lemon tree, seemingly oblivious to the rain that is falling. How nice it must be to be a little black bird, to feel at home in the rain and to know that, at least while the sky is falling, the household pussycats will remain house bound.

The giant tree next door got cut down yesterday. All of a sudden I really don't like the view from my office window. I don't know what kind of tree it was, now I feel a bit like the person who didn't tell a loved one how special they were before they passed away. I feel like I should have known the species of that tree. It would be the least I could do. The disappeared tree gave a wild aspect to the view from our back yard, made it seem a little less like we were in a boring suburban spread and more like we were free. The tree was like a high rise for all kind of birds in the neighbourhood. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed listening to them chat chat chat to each other at various points in the day. And don't even get me started on the shifting light through that tree and how beautiful it was.

Now there is no missing the awning on the house over the back fence, to the right. Before I couldn't even see that house. Now the next door neighbours seem to stare directly at us, a child bouncing on a trampoline is practically on top of us. It's like the gap where a tooth has been pulled. Is it really so ugly?

As I was pondering this the phone just rang. A friend's grandmother is gravely ill, the family is being called to the hospital. The friend lives thousands of kilometres away, she has children, work, financial considerations ... and she has a grandma, who means the world to her. My tree issues have suddenly retreated to their appropriate place.

I have strong memories of this particular grandmother - Nan - as she was called. Her house has floral carpet and my friend and I let her canary die while she was on holidays once. (Not a proud moment). She's the worse cook I have ever known. What she called spaghetti bolognese was a travesty yet she was a true character. Her husband is Poppy. His real name is Rupert. They were very funny together when we were kids, always having digs at each other. He's a dry wit that old fella. I wonder how he's coping now. My friend and I stayed in Nan and Pop's house when we were in our very late teens. Hmmm, that was a nasty period. Poor old Nan, if only she knew what happened in her bed.


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