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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.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Balcony Sitting in the Morning

“That potato vine has already grown,” I write in my black-bound journal. I have long desired a potato vine. This one has small, delicate, white flowers – someone told me at the nursery that there are different kinds of potato vines, some with lavender or purple flowers – but all I know is the white potato vine, having coveted my friend, Carol’s, potato vine for several years. Last time I was at Carol’s, I noted that her potato vine was gone, causing me distress and providing the impetus to finally plant one of my own.

“I have nothing to write.” My journal continues. “Sat here for ten min., journal in lap, pen in one hand, coffee cup in the other, staring at the potato vine, listening to the birds and the airport noise – but nothing to say, nothing to write."

"Though I’ve just recently taken up sitting on my balcony in the morning again, there’s nothing new about it (except the potato vine and the two hot-pink inpatiens planted in my old, cobalt blue pots). I’ve sat here sipping coffee, listening to the morning sounds of my neighborhood (CAW CAW CAW CAW cries out a passing crow) many times before. The train horn blares in the distance and I can hear the grumbling, rumbling of the train coming down the tracks, an express or a freight (for it is not stopping). I hear too the footsteps of a passer-by in the street, his shoes making a soft click-clack, (really a thwick-thwack). He must be wearing slippers and is no doubt the old man from the house down the way out for his morning smoke. He is hacking and coughing a bit, and I can smell his cigarette, as its grey smoke drifts up in the soft morning air to where I sit, hidden from his view.

This balcony sitting brings me no new insights; no new knowledge comes my way as I sit here, listening, observing (a squirrel runs yet again across the power lines, from one clump of trees to another). My world is not changed by watching the thick, green leaves of the trees across the street slowly light up as the sun paints the tops of trees and homes and apartment buildings in a vibrant glow, leaving the street, the sidewalk, the front porches and doors in shadow – for now.”

I sip the last of my coffee and close my journal. Time to shower and get on with the day. I have papers to grade, classes to teach, errands to run. The car needs servicing and I keep forgetting to pick up my black blazer at the cleaners. I rise from my cozy bench to re-enter my apartment, but not before I catch one last glimpse of my potato vine, as it sways just a tiny bit, moved by a gentle, morning breeze. I step inside and shut the sliding glass door.


Blogger Blue said...

I have mornings like this, however your ability to convey the 'nothingness' is eloquent.

I love the way you use words.

May 17, 2006 4:40 PM  
Blogger Jack K. said...

I can feel the satisfaction of morning coffee drinking, nature communing that was well done. It is amazing, the power of a potato vine.

I hope you enjoyed the rest of the day as well. Oh, and don't forget to pick up the black blazer at the cleaners.

May 17, 2006 5:09 PM  
Blogger Aunty Belle said...

Bird Beauty....I too like the evocation of "nothing to say" ....A writing teacher might suggest that ya' play "what if" with this piece. Re-wirte yore same observances from the perspective of "What if":

What if yore mornin' paper announced that yore neighborhood was being "redeveloped" in six months?

What if yore doctor had tole ya that your ears was damaged and you'd be deaf in two weeks?

What if Yore loved one, sittin' on the porch wif ya, was blind and you was his eyes?

What if yore daughter and her new baby was movin this afternoon?

What if yer lonnged for promotion came, but it meant movin' to Detroit?

What if a long lost heart throb, rememberin' whar ya left the spare key came out wif his own cup and joined ya?

What if you'd just been elected mayor of this city?

Place is all the more precious from a specific perspective, I guess.

May 17, 2006 9:03 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

Many thanks for the compliment Blue.

AB - Yes, this piece could be transformed - I could apply a narrative structure to it, build in some conflict...play with it...

but i want to rest with the "nothingness" of it - which is actually something. there is some pleasure in just listening, observing, and describing.

And Jack - I was sucessful - picked up the blazer today - finally. probably happened because i started my day in a calm, smooth way - it's amazing what a few moments of observation on the balcony can do for a girl.

May 17, 2006 10:14 PM  
Blogger K9 said...

/bark bark bark

nice to spend a contempletive moment with ya bird. if theres one place where flowers rock it is northern california. do you have the really yellowy potato vine? i love em. i too can identify and am always aware of the layers of sound in my hood. enjoyed it! thanks


May 18, 2006 9:32 AM  
Blogger lettuce said...

haven't seen you for a while... Life is too short, I know.

Lovely writing, as always. I'm thinking of getting a potatoe vine for a newly-cleared space in the garden.

May 18, 2006 10:07 AM  
Blogger Pete Bogs said...

my balcony has now been screened in, against my wishes...

May 18, 2006 4:19 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

lettuce - i'll be watching your blog for a picture of that vine. and sooner or later, i will add pics to this blog - as god as my witness (my pics - not pics i "borrow" from the Internet).

k9 - this is not too yellowy - has those delicate white flowers with the tiny yellow centers. these plants amaze me - they look so delicate and fragile, yet they are quite sturdy and lusty.

bogs -
yeah, i am pissed off at your landlord for screening in your balcony. i wonder what he/she/they/it were thinking. maybe it's bug control?

May 18, 2006 5:03 PM  
Blogger CROAK said...

Lovely writing, as per usual.
Nothingness, is something-ness. Playing with it is not necessary and many of AB suggestions were so negative and shocking it would ruin the point of the stillness.

Glad you picked up your blazer.

May 18, 2006 6:14 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

It is always nice, to sit down, and pen down what you are thinking.

Thanks for sharing this.

Life is the journey for the destination is death..
why hurry?

May 19, 2006 1:01 AM  
Blogger native said...

hey bird what you wrote about the dogs and the birds at hanks was lovely. the game between the species! nice.
you've got to upload the potato vine and your view!! hurry.

May 19, 2006 5:57 AM  
Blogger Bird said...

the comments on this post are so gratifying - i have been embroiled at another blog in intense and somewhat vicious poltiical debate - this is a pleasant change.

Robin: glad to see you here - I dropped by your blog to visit as well.

Croak: nothingness is somethingness - i like that phrase - will borrow it - hahaha!

GN: my vine is growing at a rapid rate - it's astounding. i've only had it for 6 days. a battery for my camera is on my to do list - but lord only knows - the vine could be 6 ft tall by the time i get around to it -of course, the thing is growing so fast - it might be 6ft in short order.

i do have elaborate plans for a pictorial essay - a new venture for me. i'd best just try to get some pics up and forget the structure of an essay - hahaha!

May 19, 2006 8:11 AM  
Blogger Jack K. said...

Yo, bird, pick up a battery. That's an order.
Telephone Colonel, Jack, at your service.

Good job on picking up the jacket.

Quiet contemplation is a joy in and of itself. The what-ifs can come at another time. Although the list AB offered are quite interesting. My guess is you may already have quite a list of your own.

May peace and love be with you.

May 19, 2006 6:00 PM  
Blogger Reverend X said...

I wanted to show you something in light of our disagreement last week. The Reasonable Man Atop our Government There is nothing reasonable about this man. It is reasonable to expect him to act as he has in the past.

May 19, 2006 11:50 PM  

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