Listening and Looking

In the interest of serenity, I am sitting on my screened porch, listening to bird calls and songs. I recognize the sounds, but can connect only a few to the birds making them. I hear a mourning dove, a tufted titmouse, a crow, and the occasional gobble of turkeys in the woods down below us.  Dozens more break the morning silence, but I don’t know what they are, only that I like listening to them. The temperature is just right, maybe sixty-five degrees; the light overcast keeps the sun from overheating the morning. The light is just right as I sit here.

I’m drinking my third cup of coffee and waiting patiently for my wife to wake up. I’ve already cooked the bacon (turkey variety), washed and cut some strawberries, and poured glasses of tomato juice. Even the eggs are ready to be poached. The only thing keeping breakfast from the table where I sit is a little time; I hope there’s plenty of that available, and  my wife’s nod of approval to complete the process.

As I glance around toward the neighbor’s house to my left (east-ish), I see it’s only barely visible now, the trees clogged with leaves.  I like that; neighbors not too close, but close enough, but invisible behind a curtain of green held up by grey and brown trunks.

The wind rustles the leaves, sounding to me like ocean waves lapping against the shore.  And now I hear the occasional lowing of a cow in the pasture down below our house, in the valley beyond the edge of the Village.

After breakfast, and following a shower and shave, we’ll go to the Farmers’ Market in Grove Park, finally open again after a winter hiatus. It may be a bit early for local vegetables, but I’m sure there will be some.  And a couple who farm nearby will be there, offering various cuts of beef, chickens, and if I’m lucky, goat.  We bought some ground goat last year; it was a disaster as a burger on the grill (it would not stay together and fell into a thousand pieces), but it tasted good. I want to try it again, but this time I’ll avoid the grill; maybe some other forms belong on the grill, but not ground goat patties.

Yesterday was the end of the semester for my pottery class. We had a pot-luck lunch, for which I made Firecracker Enchilada Casserole; most others brought store-bought foods, though there were some homemade cheese dips and one guy brought in a huge amount of pork, which he smoked and pulled.  And, then, we cleaned up. The amount of clay dust that collects during the course of a semester is remarkable; the collection is helped along by lazy students who do not bother to clean up after themselves.  But that is history and is nothing to concern myself with today; not today, when the morning is so delightful.

A week from tomorrow, friends will come to stay with us for a couple of days. We’re looking forward to their visit and hope the weather will cooperate. I’d like to be able to serve breakfast out here on the screened porch and, if the temperature is suitable, I will. And we will explore the area with them and enjoy one another’s company.

Today is shaping up to b e a smooth one, the kind of day retirement should call to mind. It’s not yet shaping up to be a day of creative writing, though, is it? At least I’m getting words to flow out of my fingers today. Every day, I try to force my fingers to connect with my brain and to produce words to capture ideas and experiences and thoughts.  But today, I’m just writing a journal; I tried creativity earlier with little success.  That’s okay, though; forcing it is too much like pushing peaches through a sieve. The results are messy and unappetizing.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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