Start with where you are. Up in the aerie with an ice-filled glass. Just finished watching Oprah. Thank you Maud Newton for your post which prompted me to leap out of my seat - OMG - I think today's the day Franzen's on. Which it was, though it was 4:30 when I turned on the TV and there was ad after pharmaceutical ad plus one for a Glens Falls hospital (how is it that a hospital should have a massive TV-advertising budget?) and then Oprah came on and it seemed to be something about Michael Jackson and I thought darn, I must have missed it or have the wrong day. Because the thing is, about being a stay-at-home blogger, is I don't have accouterments such as a datebook around me - I did one year, but at the end of it was dispiritingly empty so I didn't bother to get another - the occasional event will sometimes slip by. At the moment I have a post-it on my computer reminding myself that I RSVP'd yes to go see a reading of a play this coming Saturday... Anyway, the Michael Jackson thing was soon over and Oprah was announcing that Franzen would be on next. Yeah, so glad I didn't miss it. I lived across the street from his publisher for the longest time, an internal saga that worked on my head - for another time. I think I saw Franzen once though in person. I was seated or maybe - no, probably - standing on an F train as it pulled into Bergen Street - and I looked out the window and there he was on the platform, having, I suppose, just exited the train - and I recognized him, or the guy reminded me of Franzen - and he seemed to notice my eye contact instantly, and very intently looked at me, smilingly. It's funny, I felt this odd sense of - I don't know, recognition. I think he - if it was Franzen - must be extremely, extremely good at instantly reading people. Anyway, the train pulled away towards Carroll Street and that was that. I don't even know if Franzen has any connection with Cobble Hill at all, or if that was his stop.
Franzen says that he isolates himself in a darkened, cold office for years on end and writes, especially what he's most uncomfortable about. At the moment for me a small elephant in the room is the fact that I went out a bit after 4 to top off the birdfeeders - surely a "good deed" - and was very distressed to see, maimed and lying there, a magnificent blue jay, dead on the ground. The death - most likely by paws of cat - of any bird is distressing to me, but a jay? Jays are tough, big, they're like little harriers or hawks or - well, they don't have to be "like" anything - they're amazing and strong and aggressive and resourceful on their own. So for a blue jay to have been taken down - by whom? Perhaps the neighbor's black-and-white cat, or perhaps by Gwynnie who leapt into the house from the frigid dimming cold as I stepped out - but not any of the other three cats, Rafe, Claire, and Penelope, who were with me indoors all afternoon. Rafe has a bad cold, or perhaps more horrible condition (that breath of his), and has been sleeping against me and in bed all day long...
So I was upset about the blue jay. I filled the feeders and went back into the shed and got a shovel and returned to the scene of the crime - the jay hadn't dropped dead of disease, it was broken, and it must have, it simply must have suffered, how couldn't it have? - and scooped him up and lamented, I'm so sorry jay so sorry, and then I carried him at the end of the shovel towards - I wasn't sure where to deposit him, but then finally went behind the frog pond and buried him (poetically) behind a willow - this is a very, very tiny curly willow mind you - but a willow nonetheless - and I covered him over with handfuls of damp and dried grasses. By spring he'll be gone, decomposed. Neighbor's chickens noticed me by their border and clucked. I had to cover the jay too, not only because it was the thing to do, but if the sight of a dead bluejay is distressing to me, I certainly didn't want to simply deposit it on the difficult border and have the little children notice it. By the willow, covered with palms. Rest in peace, dear dear bluejay. I'm so sorry.
XOXO my dearest - thinking of you -