so it was in the 90s again yesterday and today expects to be in the 90s again.  for a portland girl, it’s excruciating.  my house was up to 84 yesterday and here at 8am, it’s 58 outside and still, with all the windows open, 80 inside my house.

you might guess already that i’m not actually typing this from inside my house.  the good fortune of investing in chaise lounges a few years back – worth their weight in gold i tell ya.  so i’m wrapped in a sheet (modesty from the creatures?  you can’t see me from the streets back here) in my back yard, trying my damndest to encourage the heat that emanates from my skin to dissipate in this sunday morning.

i was starting to type, and get philosophical and kept getting distracted.  if my friend M in seattle were here, she’d get a kick out of it all. i’m too distracted by the sounds of the morning.

now i don’t live out in nature, so the sounds are everything….

* i hear about five kinds of birds, from the chirps to the caws.
* i think that cackling chattering sound is of squirrels but i can’t be sure
* feral cats are everywhere and a kitten has joined the ranks, so the occasional high pitched meow
* the one year old across the street has a voice that carries as she calls to her mama
* i hear the muted passing of the cars down MLK
* my dog is silent – she has found the cool of the softened yellow grass, slightly damp from dew, to be a great place for a morning nap.  god do i love my little girl daisy.
* there is a near constant rustling in my hedge of laurels on both sides of the property.  it gives me privacy and it is a home to so many from possums to cats to birds to – well, i don’t know cuz i’m staying here while they’re in there.
* in ten more minutes i’ll hear the church bells from four or five blocks down start to ring.  while i’m no fan of religion, i love the deep slow sound of bells.
* i think i hear a child going ‘beep beep beep’ and realize that’s some other type of bird
* i hear the distance of planes in the sky. i am not under the flight path, fortunately, but a few miles away to remind me of their existence
* a bus stops on dekum street and heaves off in that sound i’ve known since i was a girl
* that fucking pomeranian across the street starts yipping and i know its owner has once again left it on the front porch.  it will yip til the door is opened.
* but better, the bok bok bok of my neighbor’s chickens.  something quieting about the sounds of birds, even the domesticated ones. for breakfast yesterday i had two of their eggs mixed with some of my homemade peach salsa and i was in heaven with the sweet and spicy and savory.
* i hear my neighbor on a different side watering plants and i wonder, will they ever find a backyard sanctuary or will the husband continue to hoard so much that

and i look out.  spiders and other insects are busy at work, oblivious to the coolness of the morning that has made me so observant.  i look out at my yard and it is like having one’s second child.  in this second year of a full garden, it is no longer perfectly manicured – it instead is useful, but with stuff everywhere.  i need to trim the tomatoes, i need to attack that back corner that seems to be my dumping area because it suddenly slopes downhill and gets no light.  i look over at my three sweet potato plants and pray they are actually creating veggies under the surface (don’t you wish you had an oven light for these things…).  it is the only reason i forgive the heat because i know i might have something soooo delicious as a result  i smile in amazement, still, at the six or seven volunteer tomato plants that are in the potato garden, and then across the lawn at the long row of nearly twenty romas and grape tomatoes i purposely planted.  the grape tomatoes, once triumphant at nearly seven feet, used their power for evil an knocked over their cages and now i delicately balance them against each other until they finish fruiting.  but ohhhh the fruit of a tomato is so lovely, i am a sucker…

i look over at my dog. she is thirteen and a half now according to the birthday i invented for her when i adopted her. she doesn’t hear like she did, so i doubt the birds or the children are in her ears, or the rustling of the leaves that once had her spring into investigative action in her younger years.  a squirrel scurries across the top of the fence and she just watches. i think she remembers what she used to do – hours could be spent circling giant trees in hopes one would mess up and come down so she could give chase.  she tries to roll over onto her back and do that cute doggy backscratching maneuver that always makes me giggle. i adore her and am so grateful for these eight years she’s been in my life.

but i gotta get up.  can’t lay around when it’s this cool, gotta do things because when it’s 95 out later, i stop moving as much as possible.  it is sunday.

yes, it is september eleventh, i am well aware, but i am so far from where i was ten years ago i can hardly look back.  ten years ago i was married, in san diego, running back to my husband in our apartment in the sky to tell him what i had learned on my way in to the office, to tell my friend in mexico to get on a plane home, to be so incredibly upset because i knew the disaster president we’d NOT elected would use this as a way to ruin everything, start wars, wreak havoc for his own personal interests.  i saw the blind patriotism that followed in my country and demonization of those who refused to carry a flag or rah rah rah the USA.  my country funded the man who orchestrated this attack and now i’m supposed to support it, to give up my rights so our president could get thousands and thousands killed invading a country that was irrelevant to this?  hell fucking no.  we are NOT the greatest country on earth – if we were our students would be the best educated, the people would be taken care of, the girls would not feel they had to be sexy to be noticed, the money would go towards taking care of our own not telling other countries what they should do.  arrogance is so repulsive to me and while 9/11 was tragedy, it was pushed above all else. meanwhile, 3 million died of AIDS.  bush conned so many – blind patriotism gave him everything he wanted while he simultaneously cut funding to first responders.  i don’t have a lot of golly gee patriotism around this day.  i feel deeply for those who lost their lives in the events of 9/11 – just as i do with the man in my town who lost his life on his motorcycle the other day to a drunk driver and just as i do for the families who lose their children to gang violence in my neighborhood and the women who have lost their battles with breast cancer.  in this day, i have less trust for my government and more focus on making each day matter.  i was twenty seven then, i am thirty seven now.  and i move on.


4 thoughts on “sensory

  1. I love the sound of churchbells too. And the distant sound of planes. Trains too.

    I can't stand all this reminiscing about tragedy. Something that people, falsely, think has defined us.

    Good Sunday to you, dear.


  2. love to hear what you hear. brings it home somehow.

    and your honesty and perspective, my god, are refreshing. like what sarah says here as well about being falsely defined.

    why is it that people are so happy to get a tragic bumper sticker upon the brow? it was a tragedy. but as you note, tragedy is owned by no one nor any one nation. let's pull up our north american bootstraps and do our part participating in a better world.



  3. You were so right – i got a complete kick out of the sounds of nature and life distracting you! I loved your run through of them, it brought me there completely!
    -M from Seattle
    ps – the beep beep beep could be the adorable red-breasted nuthatches.


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