Posted tagged ‘flickers’

“My first car was a motorcycle.”

July 23, 2015

Today is lovely with very little humidity and a cooling breeze. I slept in until nearly 10 o’clock. Last night I was tired so I went to bed early (for me) but was still awake at 3. To pass the time I watched a movie on my iPad, A Foreign Field. I kept thinking I’d finish it in the morning, but I watched it through to the end.

A flicker, a bird I haven’t seen in a long while, and a huge woodpecker were the stars this morning at the bird feeders. The usual complement of birds also dropped by, but they, especially the chickadee, looked tiny compared to the flicker. The red spawn hasn’t been by in a long while. I think it has to do with the spawn having gotten caught a few times inside the wire feeder while the full brunt of the jet spray of the nozzle was directed at it. The spawn just couldn’t escape fast enough to avoid the spray.

In Ghana, during my second year, Peace Corps relaxed its rules and allowed us to buy motorcycles. I bought a small motorcycle, a Honda 90. It was designed for modesty, with no middle bar, perfect for me as I had to wear dresses all the time. I learned the gears and the brake when I bought the moto, as it is called it in Ghana, and then rode it over 100 miles from Tamale to Bolgatanga. It was exhilarating. I loved the road and the wind on my face. The bugs were not so welcome. I learned to be exhilarated without smiling. A few inhaled bugs and a choke or two taught me that lesson. I rode along singing out loud to pass the time. I figure a few villagers told stories later about the crazy baturia (white woman) on the moto screeching as she rode.

The road home was a good one, paved all the way. It was called the road to Bolga and it went straight there so I never worried about getting lost. The ride was a long one so I stopped to stretch my legs and once I bought a warm coke at a store along the road. Kids from villages beside the road followed a bit and waved. I was even comfortable enough driving by then to wave back. When I got to the school gate, I honked so the gateman would let me in. He smiled a toothless grin and pointed to my bike. I smiled back and nodded.

I would love to have another motorcycle, but I dare not given how often I bang my leg or fall up or down stairs. Traffic here goes far too fast and hugging the sides of the road is a recipe for disaster. I’m liable to hit a giant rock or branch or have something from the sky fall directly on my head, such is my luck.

“What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be.”

November 15, 2014

The day has a pretty start with a blue sky and sunshine though it is chilly. My bird feeder is getting lots of attention. I saw house and gold finches, titmice, my friends the chickadees, a woodpecker at the suet, nuthatches and the other day a flicker. My kitchen window gives me a perfect view of the two large feeders. This morning I chased away the red spawn. It hadn’t been around for a while. I think maybe now it knows I have emptied and put away the hose. I’m definitely thinking potato gun.

My backyard, Gracie’s realm, is still filled with trees, still wild. When she goes out, I can keep track of her by the sounds her feet make as she trots on the dead leaves. The other day, our last warm day, Gracie was out for long stretches. Now, with the cold, she is out and back inside quickly. Today she has another test at the vets to check those irregular heartbeats. Right now it is morning nap time for Gracie, Fern and Maddie, each in her special spot.

I have lived alone in this house since I bought it thirty-eight years ago. The first time I ever lived alone was in Ghana, and it took me a while to be comfortable. I missed people. I was homesick and wanted to leave so many times those first few months, but I didn’t. I learned to enjoy the solitude of my house, to sit outside at night and listen to the sounds from the dormitories and the compounds behind my house. In the morning, as I sat on my front porch drinking coffee, I heard the familiar sounds of the different languages of the various tribes as the students talked to one another, the sound of water and metal as students filled their buckets for morning baths and the sounds of students sweeping the grounds with their short handle-less brooms.

I love living alone though there are times I wish for company. I admit I talk out loud to myself and to the animals. Gracie understands more than the cats, but they do come when I call their names. I love doing what I want when I want. I sometimes eat odd choices for meals. This morning I ate leftover pizza. It had sausage, a breakfast food.