Saturday, March 14, 2015

My Son the Sign Flipper 6/11/2012

I cruised over the hills of Canyon Park
with the scent of McDonald's
filling my mini-van.
Double cheeseburgers, french fries, hot cocoa.
All the treats that a teenager loves.
It was March and bitter cold
and the snow had started coming down
in giant, icy flakes.
As I came over the rise and climbed
the next hill, I was excited to see my
first-born child at his job.
My son, the sign-flipper.
At sixteen, this was his first job outside
of yard work and house work.
So him having a real job was a big deal in our family.
I reflected on the years of fun family life
as I drove along.
Holidays, family camping trips and vacations.
Picnics in the swamp, making pies together.
At eleven, he began that natural pulling away
that a son starts with his mother.
At fourteen, I couldn't stand being in the same room
with him most of the time and
at fifteen he was worse.
At sixteen, I could feeling him come back to me
occasionally like we were pulling some familial
rubber band. Short glimpses into the future.
But I knew I would never be the rock star again.
The days of being stuck together like glue
were long gone.
As I pulled up to where Troy was twirling his sign
I could see his expression of consternation with me.
I just wanted to give him hot food and drinks
while he stood in a half inch of snow.
I wanted to be his rock star one last time.
I lowered the window and he came over to accept
my maternal offerings of food and love.
"Hurry up mom! There have been hot chicks
driving by waving at me!"
No thanks, no gratitude, no manners.
Hot chicks?!
I drove off hurt but full of pride as I looked
in my rear view mirror
at my son
the sign flipper.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

How the Blind Lady Showed Me an Owl

The chirping sound of the bird was loud, sharp and insistent.
I slowed down and could see a red-winged blackbird in the maple tree.
I got off my bike and sat down on the grass next to the bike trail
and closed my eyes and listened to it.
I had just finished an article in my favorite magazine,
Birds and Blooms, about a blind lady back east that
teaches bird listening classes for blind children.
Her main tip was to listen in your yard, then parks
and concentrate on telling different bird calls apart.
I sat in the warm sun and that song of the red-wing blackbird
sounded harsh, like he was angry.
I opened my eyes and stared at him and followed his song
to the next tree.
There sitting quietly, in the early morning sun, was a two foot tall
striped brown and black owl. His head rotated slowly around
and his gold eyes looked at me.
I thought his eyes looked like that of a cat.
I had never seen a wild owl up close before
and I sat there until he went to sleep.
Then I rode home.