Saturday, July 12, 2008

FIELD NOTES: I made a point of finding my way back to the hammock...

A Saturday evening, July 12th, 2008

...dinner done. Saturday nights are usually the only times when I can cook leisurely. I do not come from a ‘cooking’ family and only pull off the illusion of cooking to my family because I get a kick out of messing around with herbs and spices (either fresh from my garden or more reliably, ordered from Penzey’s whom I consider to be one of my kitchen gods). My younger son left the hammock out, so before I take it in away from the chance of rain, I sprawl on it. I lay on my back like a flipped turtle, nowhere to look but up. The lanky, overgrown locusts are almost able to hold hands with the ancient oaks on the other side of the yard. The breach in the canopy has gotten disconcertingly smaller over the years; branches frequently tumble down and one night, a giant oak collapsed entirely, thundering down like Goliath for no apparent reason! I have taken to planning an escape route every time I recline in the backyard, calculating whether it would be safer to run toward the falling tree or away from it. Or, if I don’t have time to slip on my flip-flops, will I be able to leap over the split-rail fence into my neighbor’s yard without getting scratched up? But tonight I wonder about something different. Birds are traveling overhead. Their dark silhouettes appear from the south side of the canopy and disappear into the north side or appear from the north side of the canopy and disappear into the south side. It is a veritable freeway. Where are they going? A medium-sized pair urgently flaps straight across as if they are late for some engagement. A tiny couple randomly circles around a bit, the aviary version of cruising on a Saturday night. A large party of birds (perhaps starlings) fills the sky like a gang spoiling for trouble. Where are they all going? I am not going anywhere.

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