Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Sometimes I wake into the middle of the night to all that darkness, quiet and mystery.  Sometimes, I reach for the covers and pull them just under my chin because even at my age the feeling of being tucked in is a safe one. 

Sometimes I sense it in my bones, what's next.  I don't breathe and I don't dare be so smitten with it all as to knock on wood. No, I know. Trouble is just around the corner.

She can be charming, that one, a crooked smile, a slow and direct wink. Trouble could be what I believe, or it could be my hopes, his explanations, her laugh, a missed heart beat. Trouble loves to be wrapped in words.  Doesn't matter what form it takes, trouble is coming. 

Trouble is that I saw it coming when I woke up.  I could smell it, through the windows. I sensed the way my hair felt flat and sticky on my neck. I sensed it in the air that someone else was breathing.

I can do nothing to stop it. Trouble is here. Maybe not for you, but for me. Trouble is flirting with my focus and tickling my wounds. She wants out, this one. She wants to play.

I sit here at my kitchen table and I wrap myself in my own arms.  Hold on, honey, looks like a storm is coming.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The silence ever after

I imagine she must have made the decision weeks ago. Probably, she'd had it in her mind for a long time. It must have swirled there, melting into sorrow, curling alongside desperation, connecting to a decision.  It swam through her mind as an option, an action.  It would take some planning, she apparently thought.  Confessions, phone calls, apologies. A certain amount of scheduling and mapping out.

She chose a location.

She left a note.

At some point after her parents left the ranch that day, she walked to the stock tank, gun in hand.  I don't know if she dipped her toe in and shivered at the cold, momentarily stalling her from her mission, or if she walked straight in, not bothering to register the temperature or the wild muck of the water saturating her clothes.  I do know that she kept going.  She wanted to disappear, she wanted to be sure. 

I imagine that when she put the gun beneath her chin and pulled the trigger, the sound cracked through the weeping sky. A blue heron was startled, leapt from a tree branch, perhaps screeched before taking high and broad wing. A flock of birds fluttered in confusion across the sky. Somewhere, someone wondered What was that? The cattle jolted to attention, surprised, perhaps turned their heads in the direction.  But the sound had sliced across the horizon by then. Seeing nothing, they returned to their grazing.  A warm breeze blew across the grass, a few low hanging leaves were lifted.  The sun reflected golden on the ripples circling outward across the water. Silence flooded the land again. The clouds moved, the earth sighed. 

The facts are these:  A woman took her life yesterday.  Her body was found today.  A family is broken, parents' lives shattered.  Depression is a dark place and suicide a desperate option.  I've heard it said that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. For those left behind, suicide is a permanent heartache.  There is help, there is always help.  1-800-273-8255 (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)

Wednesday, May 02, 2012


The two birds built their nest in an empty breaker box on the exterior of the office building. The box's metal door was stuck open, creating a slanted roof that provided  protection from the rain and shade in the afternoon sun. They chose well. I first noticed the pair busily building their nest, flying from here to there with twigs, fibers, bits of grass.  One, the other, both... swooping beneath the metal door and weaving the home for her eggs.  Soon enough, only one bird flitted out, in, out. Sometimes a piece of straw or grass was in its beak, sometimes a wiggling worm.  I stood there for a few minutes each day, watching, smiling. 

Soon enough, the young ones arrived. I never saw them but I did hear them. I heard their hunger and I heard their appreciation. I learned to hear the difference between desperation and appreciation. The parents were attentive. He or she at times arriving at the breaker box at the same time, seeming arguing for space, one giving the food to another, beak to beak, and then flying off in search of more food. A few times, the late arriver would swoop in, see the other there, and fly to the roof just above and wait for the other to fly off and chance to drop down and feed the chicks. I could see the unfortunate worm wiggling in its beak.

Weeks of this, weeks of walking outside on my breaks to watch these two parents care for their family.

Today, they were gone. I noticed the silence first, then I focused on the lack of movement. I had wondered how the parents would teach the chicks to fly.  How could they fly from breaker box to building roof? I wondered if the first flight would be tragic, would a chick fall to the heat of the parking lot below? Had they taken safe flights at night, perhaps to a nearby tree?

I suppose I will never know.  But I do know that they have moved somewhere.  I do know that even in the parking lot of an office building, nature figures her way.

I love that about her.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

If you build it, they will tag

Every morning, Monday through Friday, I weave my way through some messed up city construction.  Seems the powers that be want to work on a main road and the freeway that intersects it.  Fine, I know my way around closed entrance ramps and three-lane roads narrowed to two lanes during the busiest times of day. Part of the construction is very high along the feeder, or side roads, along the freeway.  Newly erected walls, wonderful beige blank surfaces on which to paint whatever it is you want to paint in order to make your mark. I have to wonder what the city was thinking by inviting it all.  It's been about a week since the walls were erected, still the frustrating road blocks are there because the road paving has not been completed, and yet those walls are already colored, tagged, designed, customized. I don't have a problem with street art, I actually like it.  But I do have a problem with gang marks and I have to wonder why a city as sophisticated and aware as Houston is would erect a canvas for what my taxes will surely pay, year after year, to be covered.  Along another freeway in this city, metal grids were erected and climbing ivy planted. Those walls?  Green with nature.  Seems that someone missed the lesson.