A long time ago I wrote:
…..I never dared to dream
Of such friends
Who would carry me
When I could not
Find my way
Or heartfelt joys
That can lift a soul
Free gifts for an open eye…
Now I can hear you say, “exactly where’s he goin’ with this?” …Well let me tell ya’ … At the time I wrote that poem, I was engaged to marry my old college sweetheart, who I’d first met more than twenty years ago…You know, same old story…She went one way, I went another, then years later the Gods deemed it necessary for us to collide again…
After reading the whole poem (that I won’t bore you with right now) she told me that she couldn’t understand the three lines;
That can lift a soul
Free gifts for an open eye
And I refused to tell her…A poet does not explain his or her work for God’s sake! Then the perfect explanation happened right before my eyes the other day. Unfortunately my old flame is not around anymore, so I thought of sharing it with you…
All right. There I was nursing a hang over while I was house sitting for an old friend and it came to me that I’d forgotten to water her plants…Shit…Damn..@###$! So I put on my shorts cursed a few more times and heading for the back garden followed by my newly found two best friends….Dogs….Two of ‘em…..Not a dog man really but that’s another story…
Out in the garden I got out the hose and proceeded with love and care to give water to the many plants and trees. I talked to them, smiled at them and apologized to them. Then while giving the much needed nourishment to the last row of cactuses (or is that cacti?) IT happened….
Now let me set the scene for you. At the back of the garden against the wall are a row of about eight cactuses, some with stunning deep red flowers in bloom. I was too lazy to get close to them (being hung over and all) so I put the hose thingy on full speed ahead, and was managing to give the plants water while standing a good ten feet away. The water made a perfect arc and I thought to myself how amazing it was that all the water reached the plants. You’d think that some of the water would give up half way and fall to the ground…But no!
It was when I got to the second cactus that IT happened. A little sparrow flew on to the third cactus and just sat there. Being in a foul mood I took this as a challenge: “Ok buster…You wanna play games……let’s go!” So I moved the water on to the third cactus in an attempt to drown the bird, but she just hopped onto the fourth. Completely unafraid and obviously unaware that WE were engaged in mini-combat!
I moved the arc of water onto the fourth cactus and the bird flew on to the fifth. And it was then that the penny dropped and I realized that my little feathered friend was bathing. Positioning herself just far enough away from the stream of water that the little droplets reached her. Why should she be afraid? I was her benefactor. I smiled for the first time that day. And maybe for a long time. A real smile of wonder as I watched the sparrow skillfully use her beak to clean herself. I dared not move the hose. An action that I think she appreciated…and I knew this by the fact that she remained there for about five minutes, probably aware that I was mesmerized by her.
Then suddenly she was off. I looked around but could not see where she had gone, then just as quickly I noticed that she was standing on the ground at the bottom of cacti. Far enough away to allow the stream of water to shower her without crushing her.
She was clean and now it was time for a rinse…
A minute or so later I turned off the water. My dear sparrow responded by flying to the top of one of the plants and shaking the water off of her plumage, and allowing the sun to do its thing. Then she was off to take care of her bird chores for the day.
My hang over was gone. I had a silly smirk on my face. And I wished that my old love was there to witness the three lines of my poem that she hadn’t understood and that I
(for a long time) had forgotten to take heed of…