Sometimes I read, but since that causes me to sleep, I tend to set my book on my lap, and I sit and watch the boards of the porch, the trees behind my house and the ground underneath them. I like to watch the boards of my porch change color very slowly. Sometimes the boards appear to be made of liquid, but that happens after I have been sitting too long. I sit in a cheap white plastic chair which is quite uncomfortable, but I can sit for hours. It was never lonely on my porch when I could read without putting myself to sleep, but now that I stare at the boards changing color and the pine needles that seem so thick, I get very lonely.
Beginning in the fall, I brought out some old bird feeders – One made of spruce wood that looks like a very cheap cabin, a modern Plexiglas one that is a clear tube with pegs that stick out at various spots, and another cabin-like one made of metal with a textured green paint on it. I had forgotten about the pleasure I receive from feeding the birds. Several years ago, I quit messing with the feeders when I suppose I got too lazy to keep refilling them. By the time I quit, I think I may have had millions of friends visiting me each day, and they required a great deal of grain.
This year, the pleasure came back, and I finally figured out how not to be alone on my porch. One day in late October when the days are getting short enough to send me into my annual deep despair that only begins to let up on Christmas Eve, I was visited by a wonderful Blue Jay. She had so much spunk, I had to give her a name – Tabitha. Tabitha became a reliable visitor over the period of several weeks, and I fell in love with her. I know it’s crazy; you can’t fall in love with a bird. Heck, I love all of my dogs with great fidelity, but I never “FELL IN LOVE” with one of them. You can come take me away if you think I am no longer suitable for society, but I became deeply attached to my Tabitha.
Tabitha knew about all of my needs and when she came by during the eight a.m. hour or when she came by as the sun was crawling sharply to the left and a little bit to the West and very low, she would give me all of the looks that told me about all of the things I was feeling. Tabitha was able to draw the best out of me, parts of me I never knew, and I confess that I think Tabitha began to love me. She would make her fake hawk sounds which most Blue Jays are capable of, but hers were sweet and loving. It was a struggle loving a lady who was of a different species, especially considering the size difference, but our minds danced in the most incredible daily journeys.
One day, my Landlady came by and told me to take down the bird feeders. I protested all that I could, but she was the owner, and she called the shots. She was always radically against nature and I often longed for a kinder Landlady. My Landlady did not like the white specks on her ugly porch with the liquid, spoiled, and fading wood planks. I never win arguments, so I backed down and went to a bed of pine needles and cried. I could see a future of absolutely terrorizing solitude. I was hopeless.
Tabitha came back on the next three consecutive days. I tried to explain it to her, but she just listened and stared and acted as though I were about to die.
She’s been gone for so many days now. I am alive, the wood of the porch has rotted more, and my white chair is worse than it ever was. I know that I will die soon and I wonder if Tabitha remembers me. I hope we might see each other again, but I know that is foolish hope. I hope her life is full of joy. I hope she found a better porch with a better man. I hope her new man has a better chair, and I hope her new man has a better Landlady.