Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Birds Sing

"The birds sing, at the break of day. Start again, I heard them say. Don't dwell on what has passed away, or what is yet to be....."  The words are from Leonard Cohen's Anthem, and as I awaken early, and listen to the robins sing in a spring dawn, I am reminded of waking up as a 6 year old on a little suburban Everett farm. Two and a half acres of amazing productivity. I can hear the very same melodious, cavorting, sweet and intricate songs as I lay in bed, eagerly wondering what awaited me that morning. We had a cow, Mildred, and a boxer, Spike, and 10 rows of raspberries to weed. We had 4 cherry trees, 3 apple trees, 2 pear trees, and a blackberry patch that was both fearful and wonderful.
But I also had a special friend, a neighbor whose house was next to ours, accessed by a winding path through salmonberry and snowberry bushes. Her name was Dora Studeman, and when I met her she must have been in her late 60s. Her husband of many years had recently died, and she must have been at such a loss, since he had been wheelchair bound for many years before his death, and she had no other family. We were kindred spirits from the start. I, the middle child of 6, was full of wonder and excitement, and so was Mrs Studeman. She showed me how to garden, how to eat what we had grown, and it is to her that I owe the life on Lummi Island that I now inhabit. Perhaps unconsiously, I have been recreating the garden that she had, and the life as well. I remember her giant gooseberry bush, the glorious tomatoes, the berries and the fruits, and as I watch my cherry trees bud, and my red currants and my gooseberries, I think of her, with her scratchy white haired voice full of kindness and love. And I think of my 6 year old granddaughter, Madeleine, and hope that I can be a beacon for those same instincts in her.

1 comment:

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