Dry

The moth don’t care if the flame is real
Cuz flame and moth got a sweetheart deal
-Aimee Mann, “The Moth”

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I’m waiting for the sun to go down. It’s windy in San Bruno, and it’s dry.

I’ve been sitting on the edge of writing for this while. And I’ve been sitting on edge, waiting for the weather to turn. Most people have been enjoying the sunny days, out and about, saying “isn’t this great?” To me, the mornings are gray, the days are hot, and the nights blow the dead leaves around, and kick up the dust. Around the country, we have seen startling extremes, from hurricanes in the extreme northeast to the suffering heat, country-wide, mid-July.

No backyard curb appeal for me. My yard is full of nettles, dead lawn, rotting planter boxes and a gazebo that slowly comes apart with every windstorm. The field mouse in the box where the nasturtium strives to thrive has long since abandoned it; it’s given up on me re-hanging a feeder. Sometimes I turn the hose on the plants not because anything is growing but I know a Bewick’s Wren or California Towhee might want the relief, and a sip. However, I feel guilty for every drop I use, and the local water and garbage co. have raised our rates. Who cares about native plants if one day I have no water to drink? That is probably sadly misinformed, but I am not a scientist.

According to the American Meterological Society (AMS), “2012 was the warmest on record, ranking either 8th or 9th, depending upon the dataset used. The United States and Argentina had their warmest year on record.” (you can read the full report here: http://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/state-climate-2012-highlights). Humans have the biggest impact on global warming, and according to the study, the least debated, of course, is greenhouse gases. However, our deforestation and the paving of our greenbelts means we are constantly impacting the Earth’s albedo, how much the Earth reflects sunlight. This is why areas with a lot of ice cover are melting faster.

The dryness and wind in the last six months has brought some interesting wildlife to my yard, though. My neighbor’s apricot tree created hundreds of apricots, feeding the local scrub jay and the eastern grey squirrel. The visitors so close to my bird room made for constant entertainment for my parrots, and very noisy days when the conures sounded the alarm “alas! what squirrel through yonder window plays!”

As the fruit rotted the dregs would be picked up by the skunks at night, and then the ants, bugs, and flies descended on my lawn, and their predator, the Black Phoebe.

I stand at the end of my dead lawn, at the beginning of the end. I’m keeping my eyes open as we go underwater to escape, or to return to our beginnings.

Wind

My face is a mask I order to say nothing
About the fragile feelings hiding in my soul.

– Glenn Lazore (Mohawk)

Outside the wind is waiting just outside the fall. It dances around late September, and by December it will be here in full force. I watch with patience as the landscape changes; the leaves begin to wilt on the Catalpa, the songbirds are fewer, and we all move forward into darker hours.

My hair is long now, and I have to wear it back in a ponytail when it’s so windy. Even then, strands of my red hair at the temple are pulled away by the gusts and enter my eyes, nose, and mouth. As I walk, the wind is at my back and pushes me forward. The wind in the trees, especially the Eucalyptus up near San Andreas lake, sounds like a rushing river. I am always surprised to look up and not find water, only a gigantic tree, and the intoxicating scent of its bark.

I think of the little wild birds, late at night, sleeping and holding on for dear life to swaying branches. This is much like what I do as I rest, my wings (arms) tucked up around my head and neck like a bat, my only protection from my dreams. The other night I dreamt that there were men in a car, parked in my backyard, and my aviary was on fire. I don’t have an aviary. I am out of control.

The randomness of the wind makes me feel safe. It wraps its tender or strong air in a cold embrace around me, and sometimes sings me a quiet lullaby in the early morning hours, before it dies down at dawn.