I’m sitting at my computer with a winter sun slanting in, warming my back. Our little Craftsman bungalow has lots of windows. If I turn around, I can watch the street traffic, the kids walking to school, the neighbors across the street unloading groceries, their dogs wagging tails. Mature maple and hackberry trees shade the neighborhood under a quiet arboreal hood. Down at the corner a pocket park with gazebo was busy this summer with impromptu jam sessions and weddings. A few blocks away is Main Street’s brick storefronts with coffeehouses, art galleries, upscale groceries, post office and library, and even an Irish pub. We can walk everywhere.
For some reason, I’ve been thinking about a certain pine warbler- a vivid male- that showed up on December 1st, 2007, and spent the winter with us every year thereafter. He was very fond of suet dough and held his own against the mob of chickadees, titmice, jays and blackbirds, his brilliant yellow outflashing an entire flock of goldfinches. I keep wondering if he returned this year, picturing what he must have found, and push that thought back under the rug where it belongs.
Our new home has everything we could want: hardwood floors and high ceilings, an open, airy kitchen (a pleasure to cook in); a broad covered porch running the breadth of the house. A delightfully clichéd picket fence encloses a tiny front yard; in August I spent sweaty days chopping out most of the lawn with a mattock, digging in compost and manure and planting a butterfly garden. A great jungle of cardinal climber, English ivy, Carolina snailseed, clematis and trumpetvine twists into and over the pickets. The front door is framed by old-fashioned holly and Rose of Sharon. Out back an old whitewashed pergola covers a brick patio. It’s overgrown with wisteria, hung with hammocks. City birds inhabit the shrubbery, tolerating the odd avian country visitor. Underneath it all is a basement-a rarity in these parts. We love it here.
Gizmo the cat, by the way, is doing well, too. She’s no longer allowed out of doors, and she gets a little antsy, but she has many windows to look out, lots of sunbeams to sleep in and new furniture to scratch. Toy mice and string toys are stockpiled for her enjoyment, and she has fresh catgrass to nibble at all times.
We’ve been rebooting, starting over, getting ensconced, furnished and settled. The process is more or less finished, and we are looking ahead with hopes of a benign and uncomplicated 2011. That said, the coming year holds promise of fresh adventures and excitements- of the best possible variety. It’s going to be an amazing year. Stay tuned.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy, calm and prosperous New Year.