“I love this earth.”
My mother was lying on her bed. Her coughing had abated a bit. She’d been telling me about the drama of the birds that flew in and out of her burning bush by the bird feeder. She’d been telling me with the exuberance she would, in winter, tell me about the sun setting between her bare cherry trees; she didn’t like when the leaves returned, obstructing her view. Closing her in.
And she was telling me about how she loved the earth because she was telling me that at 94, she wasn’t ready to leave it. She didn’t want to die. “I don’t want to die!”
I remember my grandmother, who at the end of her own life was in a nursing home. She died at 92. And what I remember about visiting her was the bird feeder my mother had put up outside her window.
I understand more about that now – not bird watching. But watching birds. How at the end of it all, there is more drama in the simplicity of a tiny bird’s own daily survival than you ever would have imagined. Back then. At the beginning of it all.