This is a guest post from a good friend who recently lost her mother. See her writings at FanStory.com under the pseudonym ‘allinmyhead.’
Lyrics of Life
by Lynn Nicholas
The spray from the garden hose plays across the stand of Louisiana Iris. I close my eyes and make believe that the rhythmic splash is falling rain. The swish of Mesquite leaflets, brushing against each other in the staccato bursts of breeze, blend in to create a melody. The beat of small rocks, freed by the scrambling feet of a ground squirrel’s dash, add percussion: loosened pebbles tumble against the hard-packed dirt in spontaneous harmony.
A Cactus Wren squawks her protest of my uninvited presence in her garden domain. I hang my apple on a hook in the Mesquite tree to appeaser her. She appraises my actions from her thorny perch in the Cholla Cactus, directing and supervising in her shrill, bird voice. A green and purple hummingbird whirs past, then circles back to hover close to the arc of water. She dips her curved beak and refreshes herself, hovering up and down, playing helicopter in her delight. Lizards scramble to higher ground and cling like Spiderman to the hot, dry bricks of the garden wall. They don’t appreciate the disruption of their morning sun bath.
I turn to spray the Vinca, already beginning to wilt and it’s not yet 10:00 a.m. There’s no shade in this section of the yard. August in the desert – my eyes tear from the glare of a relentless sun. I came outside without my sunglasses. I came out seeking the burn, needing the intensity of feeling to confirm that I am alive. The overheated air almost takes my breath away. I can smell the relief of the struggling plants as my watering extends their lives, as it saves them from death.
It’s only them I can save. Not her, as she lies indoors, almost comatose, fighting to maintain the rise and fall of her chest. Death circles and teases, her breathing the only sound in the room, ragged and shallow. I still hear it in my ears even as I rouse the garden to noisy life, purposefully, needing to hear the lyrics of life rather than the muffled drumbeat of death.
A monarch flits and dips across the blue Salvia. Why not her? Why can’t she transform and soar like the Monarch, joyous in its new body, freed from the darkness of the cocoon. It’s time for her wings.
NOTE added Aug. 31. My mother got her wings this morning at 6:40 a.m.