April 6, 2009
Today Fritz worked from home. He's got deadlines looming and his boss called this morning to say he's committed Fritz to produce certain data by Thursday. Working here saves him almost two hours on the commute. And I'm learning to work around him. He's learning not to talk when I'm giving myself carpal tunnel at the keyboard.
"We have a rare opportunity to have lunch together," he tells me, when I come up for air mid-morning. "Where should we go?"
I groan inwardly. I love my schedule to roll along unimpeded. I love my productive morning solitude.
But I also love my Fritz.
"How about a picnic here? It's warm. And we still have curry from the other night." Not quite what he'd had in mind - but the thriftiness of the counter-plan (not to mention time-effectiveness, and no need to pay a tip) wins him over.
"But I can't eat before 12," he says.
"Groovy," and I dive back under.
At 5 'til 12 he comes to find me, now domestically folding laundry, "So I guess we're not having a picnic. I'll just get some bread and milk."
"I thought you said you couldn't eat before 12?"
"But I also can't eat after 1."
I shake my head at him, beckon him kitchen-wards, hand him plate and fork and disgorge the riches of the fridge (we are so blessedly fortunate to have this abundance - a magically cool cabinet full of food - whenever we open it.)
Noon finds us settling onto the rock wall above our gravel path (months of doing and redoing years back, but now looking as-if-ever-there with beach-strawberry twining around the base.) I settle back against the spicy glossy leaves of the wild geranium.
"That's snakes' paradise," and he settles himself more gingerly at a distance from the bushy herbs.
"Ah, little baby garters. They don't hurt anybody," and I nestle back deeper, releasing clouds of the clean pungent perfume of their crushed leaves.
"What's that sound?" he swivels around, scanning the sky.
It's the first time I've heard them this spring - the guardian spirits of this part of the world. They have such a strange ridiculous call - so much the aah-ooo-GAH! clown-horns of the bird-world that I expect to see them rolling over each other and faking pratfalls and headbutts in the sky when they finally appear up over the edge of our roof.
"They're not flying in formation," notes Fritz. It's true. They circle like a skein unloosening above us, rising slowly, spiralling.
"Maybe they're scouting out a feeding place," I suggest.
"Not a very efficient way to fly," he says.
"Maybe they're flying for the joy of it."
"Rotissering around to get the sun on all sides? Maybe," but he keeps watching them. "I think it's thermals."
"Maybe," and I start to tell him about the time I first learned the name of these birds that I've never seen except as a changing hieroglyph across the sky. Our old neighbor who died last year is the one who told me and how I still miss him -
"I think it's definitely thermals. They're probably using them to lift themselves up over the hill here."
We watch the circling birds. Their wings flutter only as needed - no wasted movement.
And when they rise at last up over the top of the hill, they glide as one, honking and gargling like a troupe of comedians, away toward the river.
And that, my dear distant ones, who may never read these words (but who may) is what your progenitors did today.