A Few Thoughts at 63 . . . And Counting

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by Lucky Garvin

Flying across the highway in front of me was a crow; and in its beak, a long piece of limp brown grass; the common, underfoot type of limp brown grass; no treasure.

But to the crow, this will form a part of the nesting which will house its family, keep them warm from the winds and safe from predators.

In nature – perhaps in life- there is a value to everything, taken from the right perspective. There’s a storm making up outside my window; pewter-colored clouds rolling in. The wind is fitful; birdcalls uncertain. The man who does my yard is hurrying to mulch the leaves before the storm hits. I pause, for I have a feeling of seeing this before.  At some moment in childhood, I must have lingered before some kindred scene and been unaware that a memory was being impressed and stored.

In the Fall, brother Denny and I and Mom would rake the yard and heap that harvest of leaves upon the flower beds.  “A blanket for winter; nourishment for spring'” Mom thus explained mulching the flowers. She was raised on a farm in a time of such financial impoverishment that people were forced into a sympathy and partnership with Nature’s provision. The earth has mulched itself for uncounted ages. I recall the old saying: if it’s stupid, and it works… it ain’t stupid.

And Another: One of the injured Sabrina and I took in last year was a bluebird, a creature that mates for life. He hit a window and knocked himself out. The folks who bought him to us told how his mate tried to nuzzle his unconscious body into wakefulness, but flew off to a nearby branch as the human Samaritans came to rescue him. It looked bad. Sabrina is well acquainted with stunning; it’s like a concussion. Three days later, he was fully recovered and we took him back to where he had been injured. His mate was still there; he flew up to her; they perched together on the bough, and I can just imagine the conversation:

She: So you just take off and leave me. No ‘good-byes’, no faxes…

He: I was knocked out! When I came to, I’d been taken by aliens!

She: Aliens. Right.

He: Honest! They were huge, at least five feet tall! And they had no feathers or beaks… Then all of a sudden, they bought me back here!

She: [flying off] You must think I’m a bird-brain! You’re sleeping on the sofa tonight, bucko!

Poor guy!

Circumstance and choices: a quilting; a counterpane that lies across time and inter-connects the generations. A spur of the moment decision – nothing more than a whim – long ago, sets a certain wrinkle in the quilt, and, years later, the tug is felt; the effect revealed.

The year is 1945. A PT boat bobs quietly out in the peaceful, lonely expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. World War 2. It’s hot. Three of the crew decided to sleep on deck to capture whatever furtive, cooling breeze might chance by.

I wonder what they thought of as the lapping waves lullabied them to sleep? And when the explosion shook the ship; what thoughts then? A torpedo from a marauding German U-boat.

The boat sank; all the men below decks perished. The only survivors? Two men. And my father, [recently engaged to my mother.] He took a notion to stay on deck that night. “What the heck. I’ll sleep outside.”

It was hot that night, you see.