Thursday, May 27, 2010

Milk Bones

Today, as I drove back from lunch, a falcon flew across the road just in front of my car, a white mouse in its beak.

For a moment, because I was feeling preoccupied with my life's little dramas, I wondered if it was some sort of omen, a metaphor for something. And then, only half seriously, whether in that metaphor I would be the falcon or the mouse :-)

Tonight as I walked my dog, the nice old lady who sits on her porch and talks to the passersby called to me. She lives alone. Her children live far away and her husband died years ago. "I have water for the dogs," she said, "And Milk Bones." She doesn't have a dog.

I walked up her driveway to chat a minute, and to my surprise my finicky dog not only accepted the Milk Bone but laid her head affectionately in the old woman's lap.

"A robin built a nest outside my back door," the woman told me. "Between the two lights. One of the baby birds was flapping, flapping, flapping its little wings, and it fell out of the nest, onto the patio. I watched it, just lying there, trying so hard to fly. Its little legs were like sticks, but with the mother's help, it crawled away under the bushes.

"The mother will take care of it. As long as no critter finds it, it will be all right."

"Life is a struggle," she said. "From the moment you're born." She smiled and shrugged as if to say there was no help for it.

As I walked away, she called to another neighbor, and I saw that woman head up the driveway to chat a moment.

At home my roses have burst into glorious pink blossoms. The hydrangea, planted three years ago, has finally put forth some buds -- hundreds of them. And the little peony managed a second bloom.

The cat lolled in the driveway, and the dog lay down in the thick grass nearby. It was a perfect late-spring night. I let go of the things that had been bothering me and just let the beauty of the evening soak in.

We all have our struggles. Sometimes we're the falcon, sometimes the mouse. Sometimes we're the baby robin, flapping desperately just to stay alive.

Sometimes we're the person left all alone, through no real fault of our own.

There's no help for it. We can sit inside our empty houses, letting life pass us by, or we can buy a box of Milk Bones and set out a dish of water.

When given the choice, choose the Milk Bones.

The peony's second effort. Hard to believe this is the same plant as the one below.


  1. This is really, really nice, Ami. I think my favorite line is, "She doesn't have a dog." Just five words, but they tell you pretty much all you need to know about your neighbor's outlook on life.

  2. "The cat lolled in the driveway" - if my cat had his way, he'd be out there LOL-ing in the driveway, too.

  3. Very powerful imagery in this post! Whitney Groves shared your blog address with me, and I am so glad I visited!