I walked outside the other day. I needed to step out just for a minute to get some fresh air. Sitting in bed I sometimes hear the world beckon to me. As I stepped out onto the porch that leads to the walk that leads to the driveway I realized there was no rustle. There’s always a rustle. A rustle of the birds in the trees flying away because they hear me come out or sometimes there’s the big leap of a squirrel trying to get into my feeders and what I heard was nothing. No singing birds nothing. And I realized my feeders and the suet holders were empty. I shouldn’t worry too much it’s summer there is plenty of food outin the world for the birds but I missed the noise – it was too quiet. My birds left.
When I first moved to this farm and I walked around I noticed how quiet it was during the day. Something was missing – the birds were missing- the home was empty – nobody had been here taking care so the life was gone from inside and it spread outside. It was sad.
One day Not long after we moved in i noticed my neighbor had feeders out in her back yard and lots of birds flocked to them so I decided to put some feeders out of my own in our front dogwood tree. After a while birds came- cardinals, finches , swallows , bluebirds and after a couple years squirrels. The feeders doubled in quantity and size. I was amazed we hadn’t seen many squirrels if any for the first couple years we were here- and I was so glad early this summer to walk out and meet one face to face as he raided one of my open feeders. A little swing where you put the sunflower seeds on the seat. It was perfect for a squirrel. We also had seen them hanging off a big feeder on the side of our house. Squirrels and birds brought life to this farm.
I remember the day we brought the horses over from the barn where they had lived much of their lives. We lived hear almost two months before we brought them over. I had worked so hard on the stalls. Leveling them and adding rubber mats. Setting up the tack area and hanging hooks for lead and halters. I’d look out of the old back windows of the house and see that empty paddock and fields and picture my horses there. My heart couldn’t fathom that I’d have my horses in my backyard. It was a dream. And sure enough the day they came was a dream come true. I stood on my deck on that cool early November day and my horses were there just like I pictured and they brought life to this little farm.
Over the years more and more birds have come. We have had nests in hanging plants and in bushes. During the first few winters I wasn’t as consistent with feeding them because my neighbor June was very diligent and kept her feeders full all winter. But June died in the spring of 2015. I hadn’t spoken with her in a while and I felt badly about that. And one day I looked over at her house to see that the feeders were gone so I wanted to make sure the birds kept getting fed so I purchased more feeders and was diligent about keeping them filled all last winter. And what a pay off. The bounty of birds was a gift and every day you could spend hours watching them come and feed. The beautiful male cardinals against a snowy background. My dogs would watch them out of my office window – they wouldn’t bark they would just stare mesmerized by the dance in front of their eyes. I’d walk outside every day and I’d hear rustling in the bushes and I swear they would watch from their perches as I filled the feeders and they’d make calls to each other perhaps saying “the lady is filling us up -get on over here”.
The feeders have sat empty lately -And now the birds gone. I know they aren’t far away but it’s quiet out there. Even with the cars zooming by there’s something missing.
I stood outside and I thought to myself in this weird way that this must be what it would be like if I was really gone. Nobody would fill my feeders.
I walked into the house to see what else was missing what else of my being in encased in one room has created this house to feel different. My husband and kids have been trying to keep up with the cleaning. So that’s not too bad. The kitchen feels foreign to me. Things are moved around and I can’t reach anything because I can’t use my arms. It’s so funny bc I’ve watched loads of cooking shows and I keep thinking I’ll get back to cooking when I feel better. I mean those cooking shows make you feel empowered and well remind me that I need new and much better cookware and a better stove and ovens and well honestly a better kitchen. So maybe I won’t be back to loving cooking but maybe I’ll be able to cook. Sometime. But I felt missing in the house. I can’t explain the feeling but maybe you have felt thid after you’ve been in bed with a cold for a day or two and get up and walk around your house and things just feel shifted and different and in my case it feeks like that except for maybe multiplied by hundred.
I just feel lost and strange in my own house like I’m not really a member here I’m just visiting. A part of me is missing. Like I left. The only place that’s truly home for me right now is my bed and my set of drawers next to me and my dresser.
I looked out the back deck and at my fenced in veggie garden in the corner and all I saw were tall weeds sticking up -huge weeds. Scary weeds. Nobody is harvesting anything from that garden.
In the beginning of the summer I started out with a nice beautiful garden and every day I went out and tried to weed it even though I was starting to get pain and my son Luke would sit with me sometimes and help and we would sit and talk he and I. It was a special time for me to chat with my son. He was always my garden helper. He helped me plant the very first plants in that garden years ago now. And this summer I was able to help with the first harvest of squash – the tomatoes took longer but I did pick a couple of those and then I just had too much pain. And since I’ve been gone that beautiful garden is now a weed patch. It was the last thing on anyone’s minds even Luke’s. he a teenager now- Gardens aren’t his priority. I told my husband to go ahead and give the chickens the tomatoes and the squash and pull the plants out so they can enjoy it. Nobody wants to climb in there and try to grab veggies the weeds have won. We have an automatic waterer for that garden so there has been no lack of water for the weeds.
I told kevin I was sad to see that this is had happened. And I was sad about the birds. I said it felt like this is what would happen if I had died. I know it’s a morbid thought but its all just seemed so sad and weird. Like I’m only partly here. Surreal. I’m not sure he even knows what to say when I say these things. I’m not angry at anyone they are doing their best. I just feel sad that I’m gone but I’m really not physically gone but in some very obvious way I’m gone from the tick tock of our home and farm. For now.
Kevin has been watering my front flower garden over the summer. And On the many nights we have walked in that lane we will turn on the sprinkler when we head out and we take our walk down the lane and when we come back we turn off the sprinkler. I feel more like me on those walks than I feel any other time. And my flowers don’t look too bad. A little weedy but not too bad.
Of course while I’m down and out the things that are normally my things have to get taken over by others and even then only the most important things will get picked up. Like feeding humans and animals, keeping the house relatively clean. I have been keeping up with the bills and our small company. Not well but I’m doing it. Oh and I try to keep our family calendar together. Thank God for electronic calendars that can be shared by family members on their phones. But I can’t do much. Other people are making some decisions and other people have to make those decisions.
And now the people here have to help me and I can’t help them much. But that’s the way it is. It’s what family does.
I’m hoping that those things shift soon I’m hoping that I’ll be feeling way way better. And I will be doing better for others and I’ll be part of this home and this world once again. But I want things to be different.
I think a lot about these things. When you’re sitting in your room most of the day awake. Trying to think about when you’re going to feel better and if I’m lucky enough to get my life back what is it I want to do with said life. Because to be healed enough to get out of this bed will be such a blessing and a rebirth. You don’t realize how much you miss filling your bird feeders when you can’t.
Cancer taught me life is short. And I’ve tried to go out and live it even in pain.until I couldn’t. Being laid up in bed allowed me to think about what I really want life to look like if I’m lucky to get out of this bondage.
I want some things to change in my life when I get better. Of course I want to be at the beach more and go do things with my husband and kids more and I want to work out and be able to ride my horse -but there’s something more I want to do. If I’m lucky to feel better can maybe I can help others dealing with cancer. I’d like to do something. I am still thinking about it all. I’ve got the time. For now. But i will figure it out. But right now I just need to just do today and shut the brain off for a bit.
And Kevin’s out getting more bird seed for the feeders. Hello birds.