I almost decide to write from my own back yard today. We have a small yellow pan that Therese keeps filled with fresh water and, as a result, we have become avid bird watchers. We have bluejays (very territorial and high up on the chain), cardinals (they will share sometimes, but in general, prefer to bathe and drink with their own kind...the males are VERY protective of the females...), wrens of all kinds and even some birds that we can't identify (check out the picture on my journal front....) Today, we were shocked to see a robin. What are THEY still doing here? Or maybe they haven't left yet because of our mild winter? At any rate, it is fun to watch them all. We also have a naked lady bird bath that came with the house when we bought it. I think at one time our yard was quite a pretty showpiece but we aren't master gardeners, so we've toned things down a little bit. The naked lady bird bath used to have a little fall of water meandering down her hair and filling the bird bath. It stopped working shortly after we moved in, so we shut off the water to it. There was also another waterfall in the back of the garden but no naked lady to decorate it! It stopped working, too, so that was shut off. Both sit unattended, but still pretty to look at. We also have an eerie little naked boy statue in our yard. Again, it came with the house...so...no...we aren't decorating with a nude theme in our yard! But, while the naked lady looks serious and contemplative, the naked boy is holding a bird on his hand and smiling hugely. Except that his smile looks almost maniacal. He looks as if he is seriously contemplating eating that bird.
Once, I had a kind of scary encounter with this statue. I was out in the yard on a summer evening picking the tomatoes that grow wild along our fence line every year. (I told you that our back yard was complicated....) It had been that long, hot, dry summer and I decided to water the lilac bushes which are on the opposite fence line of the yard. The naked boy statue stands in between two very large peony bushes, next to the lilacs. I lugged the hose and started watering. I suddenly had the oddest feeling of being watched and turned to see the statue of the naked boy. He appeared to be looking past the bird he held and at me. I sort of chuckled nervously, chiding myself for getting spooked by a statue. I kept watering. I reached the peony bushes where the boy statue stood and suddenly the hair on my head stood up. The boy was tilting his head, yes, but staring straight ahead at the bird on his hand. When I had been watering the lilac bushes, I could have sworn that the boy statue's head was turned to the side, watching ME. I decided to nip this fear in the bud and bent to examine the statue that I had honestly not really looked at close up in years. It stands about 4 feet tall. Up close, I could see that he wasn't in the best shape or not nearly as good of shape as he had been in when we moved in 15 years before. He was full of cracks that lined his face and body. His nose, hands and toes had been badly chipped. His um...penis...was completely gone. It had only been a sort of nub, but it had been there, I am sure. And his face was absolutely looking at the bird. There was no way it could have been looking at me. BUT IT HAD. I HAD SEEN IT! FELT IT! To this day, whenever I think too much about it, I get chills. A trick of late evening sun? I'll never know.
Anyway, I decided to come to Towl Park instead of my yard to write. I don't think that I will be able to write again until 2017. Therese is taking some time off and there's this last jumble of parties and family gatherings as the holidays officially end on January 2nd.
I'm half glad and half sad to slide into 2017. I dread reading more of Donald Trump's ridiculous tweets. It was embarrassing knowing that our president-elect actually got into a twitter snit over Hamilton. It will be absolutely mortifying if he continues these junior high boy antics as our president. It just seems so undignified.
I am glad that my kitchen will no longer be filled with holiday bakings and that fudge, eggnog, frosted sugar cookies, stuffing, and anything in a box from Bissingers will be gone for a year. Now, if I want to pig out on unhealthy foods, I'll have to go out and BUY them instead of having them bestowed upon us by wonderful neighbors, friends, and family.
I will miss the prettily decorated houses. The way Christmas trees look in front windows as I drive by. I'll miss our own twinkling blue lights on the Christmas tree in the living room.
I will be happy when all of my favorite television shows return from holiday hiatus: The Walking Dead. This Is Us. January is a hard month. It is long and brutally cold.
So, I decided to come to Towl Park to write for the last time in 2016. It is very mild today, as it has been on most days. I have come to see this place as my peaceful respite almost every day. A place to people watch, collect my thoughts and meditate. I've met so many interesting people here, sitting in my lawn chair, clipboard and notebook on my lap. Thank you all for sharing your lives with me and your pet stories. Here's hoping that we have a mild enough winter that I can come back here soon.
Goodbye 2016. Hello 2017.