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Bird's Blog

Poetry, musings, observations, commentary, rants, confessions...and who knows what else!

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Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Teacher, writer, poet, grandmother, lover, wine-drinker, chocolate eater, beach comber, hiker, traveler, Giants fan, San Franciscan. All work on this blog is copyrighted material.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Paradise (and it ain't lost)

I woke this morning to strange sounds and a strange absence of sound as well. I heard birds – singing in the trees outside my window. I haven’t heard birds singing in the morning for countless days, weeks.

I heard too the strange, quiet, smooth sound of car tires on dry pavement. A sound so soft, it is sometimes barely noticeable.

But I did not hear the steady, plop-plop-plop of raindrops on the sunken, soddy ground below my window.

I lay in my bed, half afraid to rise, pull back the curtain, and gaze on the day, for fear I would see grey clouds gathering or the eastern sky tinged with red (red sky in the morning, sailor take warning).

Summoning my courage, I rolled out of bed, crept softly, quietly (lest any noise create some sort of catastrophic atmospheric chain of events that could quite possibly wreak havoc with my fragile mood) and, barely able to stand the suspense and filled with dread and fear, pulled the curtain back just a bit, just a tiny, teeny bit.

Beyond the curtain, through the window, I saw what seemed to me to be …

Blue. I flung the curtain open and saw – a clear sky reveling in its blueness. A sky so broad, so deep, so blue – it must be heaven. Not a single cloud - not one wisp, nor strand, nor stray bit of fluff - in sight.

Nonetheless, being a skeptic and a cynic and half-convinced that I was merely delusional, I took my raincoat with me to campus.

But I never used it. Not today. After teaching and then conferencing with one student after another, I headed out to Ocean Beach, pulled neatly into the first available parking space, and pretending to completely ignore the young man smoking pot in the car next to mine, I changed as quickly as I could from my “take me serious – I’m your teacher and I can flunk your ass if I choose” clothes into my “I don’t give a damn what I look like - I’m walking on the beach” clothes. I locked up the car, and for one moment considered asking that young man for a drag off his blunt, but deciding that I was quite high enough already on the color blue and the gleaming sunlight, turned my back on the sweet scent wafting from his car and joined the giddy, dizzy, amazed San Franciscans out for a romp on the beach.

The recent storms had left their mark – sea boulders, rocks, stones, crushed sea shells, driftwood scattered across the dark sand. But the waves glittered in the sunshine and there was not even one hint of off-shore fog. Snowy plovers scurried along the shoreline. A dog gleefuly trotted down the beach with a stick in his mouth while others of his kin chased balls or frisbees; toddlers ran with pudgy little legs and bare feet across the sand, giggling then squealing when the wet waves lapped up and covered their pink little toes. Old men in fishing boots clumped along, their eyes scanning the horizon, watching a barge move north along the coastline toward the Golden Gate Bridge. Two old women, walking arm-in-arm, one wearing a red scarf, the other a dark brown cap, gossiped in Italian and pointed first at the seagulls, then at a little boy and his kite. Bikini-clad girls stretched out in the sun. Buff young men, breaking just a trace of sweat, ran shirtless down the beach. And I smiled at everyone. They all smiled back.

Now I sit on my balcony, the day over, sipping a cosmopolitan. The sun shines through the green leaves of the prickly maples that frame my balcony. The air has a nip to it – I am wearing a sweatshirt – and a gentle breeze moves the wind chimes ever so slightly, almost imperceptibly – yet I can hear the sweet tones – just barely, just barely. The sun is still shining and the sky, as it has all day, remains cloudless.

No matter that rain is forecast for Friday. Today it was sunny and I walked on the beach.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

thats sounds beautiful. I need to get back to the beach. It's autumn here, but its teasing us with beautiful summer weather and blue skies.

April 19, 2006 5:27 AM  
Blogger Jack K. said...

Thanks for sharing another example of a blissful experience. I can almost feel and smell the moist sea breeze. I only wish we could get some of your rain. I would really like a two or three day gentle, soaking rain. The deluges we have been getting in our area are accompanied by high winds and hail. They come and they go realtively quickly. We have been fortunate so far that the winds haven't damaged anything on our property so far this year. We have had our share of damage at other times. It was enough and we don't have to experience it again.

Saturday evening we did spend about an hour in the basement watching the weather report on TV. When a tornado threatens, we take cover. Hazel, the cat, does not want to come to the basement with us. Maybe she knows something we don't.

Enjoy your beautiful blue, dry sky.

April 19, 2006 7:52 AM  
Blogger K9 said...

/bark bark bark

bird! nicely written! i feel the joy and the weight of wet lifting as if the 40 days of rain had happened to me!
i am revelling in your relief. so happy for you. i am a stick dog myself and love the image of dogs on the beach. heck, i am happy to see dogs actually MAY be on the beach still. grrrrrrrrrrrrrl, enjoy it.

jack, our boy scott mcclellan stepped down! i am sending in my resume......


April 19, 2006 9:59 AM  
Blogger The Flabbergasted Heathen said...

I wish you many a dry evening to come...

April 19, 2006 11:19 AM  
Blogger Aunty Belle said...

Great imagery Bird Jewel of the Air....happy youse teachin' English as you can use it so well.

April 19, 2006 11:25 AM  
Blogger Jack K. said...


/bark bark bark, backacha. mecclellan ain't my boy, but you are correct in identifying him as a boy. lol

April 19, 2006 5:06 PM  
Blogger Pete Bogs said...

see, all you had to do is complain to me and I send you singing birds and sunshine... too bad the man makes you wear clothes on the bitch... always trying to keep a sister or brother down...

April 19, 2006 5:08 PM  
Blogger K9 said...

/bark bark bark


bird, you know what? i pulled my EVH post cause it made me sick everytime i looked at it. sorry i did that to you - i wasnt thinking. i was so incredibly shocked i guess i wanted to share it.....i was NOT making fun though. same way i would love to talk about what has happened to whitney houston but i can't without it appearing to be exploiting misery.....

anyway. sorry grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrl.

/tail down and tucked

April 20, 2006 12:59 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

no tail tucking!

write the post! since when did the dog start censoring himself? you can alwyas but the disclaimer upfront about exploiting misery.

April 20, 2006 2:16 PM  
Blogger K9 said...

/bark bark bark

thanks boyed.


April 21, 2006 5:54 AM  
Blogger lettuce said...

thanks for your comments on my blog.
I've tried to leave a comment here before but blogger wouldn't let me... and now my blog template keeps sliding all over the place.

Anyway - beautiful photos and writing. Glad you are enjoying some sunshine too. We've had a couple of days that actually feel like Spring!

Yes, I sort of thought we might have some things in common. So nice to have "met" you!

April 21, 2006 9:57 AM  
Blogger Bird said...

I need to post a disclaimer of sorts here -
the photos in this post are not mine - i have pillaged and plundered through cyberspace to find photos of Ocean Beach in San Francisco. No links or attribution for these photos other than the dog with stick - I included a jump within the post to the site of stick dogs (rather fun).

My apologies if I have mislead visitors. Not my intention.

I will have to make up for it and get going with my own photos (hundreds of them sitting on a chip, waiting to be downloaded....)

April 21, 2006 10:34 AM  
Blogger K9 said...

/bark bark bark

more happy dogs on the beach then, bird. what about your own dog(s), have you posted them ever?

i redid the EVH post. you wont need the sickbag this time.


April 22, 2006 10:28 AM  
Blogger Jack K. said...

I left another comment at the Frog's farewell.

April 24, 2006 10:44 AM  
Blogger HanktheDog said...

Gentle bird, We have just the opposite problem here: all sun and no rain. When it finally rains, I'm going to go to the beach and have a swim and look into the sky and let the water fall into my mouth. That's the kind of drought it's been.

April 24, 2006 7:12 PM  
Blogger lettuce said...

yes, the flags are cool, aren't they? If you click on the bottom of the Visitors online box, there is a link. Or go to www.neoworx.net, anc click on NeoCounters. The Visitors Online box is free - forever! (or at least at the moment!) The log with all the flags is free for 2 weeks - by which time you're probably hooked. But after that is only about £6.00 or so for a year.

Pretty easy to log in, install etc. - let me know if you want any help.

April 25, 2006 10:13 AM  
Blogger Pete Bogs said...

I want that dog with the stick!

April 26, 2006 6:56 AM  
Blogger Reverend X said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

April 26, 2006 10:01 AM  
Blogger Jack K. said...

I didn't realize how bad your rain was until I came across this weather reference. I hope things are drying out for you by now.

May 01, 2006 8:38 AM  

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