Posted tagged ‘Public Garden’

“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.”

November 5, 2013

The sun is among the missing. It’s been gone a while. Today is dark and bleak. Very little color is left in my yard except for one small tree next to the drive-way. Its has red leaves, brilliant red leaves against the backdrop of empty branches.

 I filled the feeders yesterday, and I got really cold. My fingers were the coldest of all. I filled three feeders with sunflower seeds and two with thistle. I also filled one suet feeder, cleaned out the bird bath and added water to it. When I looked later, the birds had descended in full force. When I looked after that, a red spawn was inside one of the feeders. I ran out and scared it so much the panicked spawn had trouble getting out from behind the wires on the feeder. I kept running at it, and the spawn was close enough to touch before it jumped to a branch. It is the same spawn who got hosed all summer. I’m thinking a squirt gun as the hose is put away for the winter. 

When I was young, we’d go into Boston, to the Public Garden, and ride the swan boats. The boat pond was always filled with ducks and the garden itself had a million squirrels and pigeons. People would sit on benches and feed the birds and the squirrels pieces of bread and peanuts from vendors who sold them from red carts along the walkways. I always wanted to feed the squirrels. I thought they were cute. What did I know? I was little. 

Life is filled with routine. It starts when we go to school. We get up every weekday, eat breakfast, get dressed and walk to school. The subjects come in the same order every day except on music and art day. We eat lunch at the same time every day. We go out for recess unless it’s raining. High school doesn’t change the routine much. For me the only difference was I took a bus every day, every day at the same time with the same people. The subjects still came in order. Lunch was at the same time every day . We didn’t have recess but we did go out for air in the small fenced in yard behind the school.

College is when the routine starts to change, and we begin to taste the freedom of choice. Pick your own classes mindful of the schedule. Eat when you have time. Sit around and play cards in the canteen. Skip a class now and then. 

After college, the routine reasserts itself at work. Be there at a certain time, eat lunch at the same time as yesterday and the day before and the day before that, teach the same classes in the same order every day. Go home around the same time every day. That, however, was the first routine I barely noticed and never minded. I didn’t like the getting up part, but I loved the work part. I loved my first two years in Ghana and I loved the next thirty-three here on the cape. I think loving what you do makes the day joyful though not every day because we couldn’t be that lucky, but it does for most days. 

 I have no routine now, and I’m glad. I get to choose whatever my day will be. It doesn’t get much better than that.

“The woods would be quiet if no bird sang but the one that sang best.”

March 28, 2013

The morning is cloudy and was rainy earlier but it was a small rain, droplets. I would moan and groan about the sunless world in which I live except this morning was different. Over the sound of the rain I could hear birds singing. They were greeting the morning, and rain didn’t matter: it was the joy of the morning.

I stood at the kitchen window and watched the flicker pecking at suet in the feeder I bought just for him. A bird I don’t know waited its turn. I’ll look it up later in my bird book. One goldfinch was bright with color, the first to break out of winter drab. I noticed the thistle feeder is empty. I’ve had more goldfinches than ever, sometimes seven or eight at the same time, and thistle is a favorite of theirs. The chickadees are few, and I miss them. They, the titmice and nuthatches are the sunflower seed birds. I have three different feeders for them. The sole woodpecker is either at the suet in the small feeder or tapping a pine tree. The small suet feeder looks like a house. It’s kind of cool and the birds grab on upside down.

I don’t remember people having bird feeders in their yards when I will little. The few times we went to Boston in the warmer weather, I remember feeding the pigeons and the ducks at the Public Garden. I also remember feeding the squirrels. That was before their spawn days. I thought it was really neat to see them so up-close. Pigeons are still fun to watch. Drop a few pieces of bread and they all move to the same spot, pushing and shoving and even taking to the air. They are very noisy birds. I always feel bad about pigeons. They’re nobody’s favorite bird. They have squat bodies and are dull in color. Pigeons seem to hang around in large numbers so the odds of getting bread are slim. I always try to throw some to the back of the pack which then makes all them turn just about at the same time and they all squawk about the inconvenience.

My mother used to get pigeons at her feeders, city birds we’d call them. It frustrated her to no end. She wanted cute little birds like chickadees, but, instead, she’d get sparrows, almost as common as the pigeons. The crows dropped by often because my mother was always throwing out something for them. “Save it for the crows,” she’d tell us. Once she got a seagull. That was a puzzler. She called to have me guess the bird which had visited. I didn’t guess seagull. That’s one bird which has never ever stopped at my feeders. I guess my mother’s was a country cousin of sorts visiting its city cousins. She never saw another seagull in her yard.

It’s not like Massachusetts, where they’re baptized Democrats.”

July 21, 2012

It’s another gorgeous morning, cool and sunny. A breeze is blowing. The leaves, dappled in sunlight, are gently swinging from the ends of their branches. I stood on the deck for the longest time this morning just taking in the day. I watched Gracie roaming what I call the back forty. I watched the birds taking seeds from the feeders then I sat down for just a bit and heard the fountain, the songs of the birds and the crunch of the leaves when Gracie ran over them as she circled the yard. I smelled the flowers and the freshness of the air. The morning filled all my senses.

Today I have errands, and I’m not even complaining. It’s a perfect day for a ride even if it is to the grocery store and the pharmacy. I’m thinking after my stops I might just keep going on the back roads and travel a bit down-cape. I haven’t done that in a while, but then again, I have a new book and comfy deck chairs. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll put off the errands until late afternoon and sit outside with my book, a cold drink and Miss Gracie. I like having choices.

I have lived in Massachusetts for the whole of my life except, of course, for the two years in the Peace Corps. I wouldn’t think of living anywhere else. We have four seasons: two I love and two I tolerate because of their extremes. We have mountains, albeit small ones, and the seashore. History oozes all around us. We can visit Plimouth Plantation and Plymouth Rock and be whisked back to 1620, and we can stand where the revolution unfolded on Lexington Green. Paul Revere’s house still stands as does the steeple where he watched for the lanterns. We can ride the pedal-driven swan boats on the small lake in the Boston Public Garden just as people did over a hundred years ago. Here on the cape, whales spend the summer and a few great white sharks make headlines. Nothing tastes better than steamed clams freshly dug from the sand flats. I still take pride that this was the only state which voted for McGovern. We love our sports teams, sometimes even rabidly, and they have thanked us by winning championships. White churches on hills are still parts of small Massachusetts towns. Nothing is prettier than fall when bright red and yellow leaves decorate trees and shade roads. I may complain but falling snow is lovely.

I have always considered myself lucky for living here.

“Spring makes everything young again except man.”

April 17, 2012

I’m sorry about yesterday, but I worked the Boston Marathon and the standing and the heat got to me. My job is volunteer lunch distribution at Copley Square where the marathon ends. We put bags of chips and stuff together, pass them and sandwiches out and feed around 1000 people. The tent was quite warm in the 85° heat. Luckily it was going to become an auxiliary medical tent so they started air-conditioning at eleven, and that felt great. We had to be finished our jobs by noon, and we did. I then walked to the T at Arlington, rode to Quincy, got my car and drove home. When I got home at 2:30, having left at 6:40, I weighed writing Coffee against taking a nap. You know what won!

The city was filled with people. All the outdoor cafes had no empty tables, and people were just meandering or heading to the Sox game or going to watch part of the marathon. The Public Garden had people sitting on benches enjoying the coolness of the shade from trees overhead. I sighed as I sat down in the air-conditioned T car. It was just too darn hot for mid-April.

The Cape reached the low 70’s yesterday and is 73° right now. The sun is hot. No rain is in the forecast, and everything is really dry. A red flag alert has been posted which means we have critical fire weather conditions. My lawn water system was turned on today as my grass is already brown in spots where there is no shade. I remember complaining a few weeks back about three days in a row of rain, and I guess Mother Nature took it to heart.

When I was working, I used to go Europe every April vacation. I went a few times with my sister and several times with my parents. We seldom had a set route or destination. We’d mostly stay in one country the whole week and stop when we were tired. My favorite country was Portugal, but my favorite trip was the one with my parents and my sister when we traveled to Belgium and the Netherlands. We laughed a lot especially after we got stopped at a border station by a very angry guard. It seems we had driven back and forth through the border three times trying to find our road. We explained, but he was not amused. We looked solemn enough while he reprimanded us, but once on our way we had to laugh at the whole adventure. There he was sitting in his guard-house watching us fly by him not once but three times. Good thing we were just stupid tourists!

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