Wednesday, February 16, 2011

About a bird

I've decided to start twittering. Or is it tweeting? Using twitter? Whatever. Mostly it's because I want to work on being more succinctly witty, but really so I can round out my calendar, which between me and my husband includes directing a middle-school production of Willy Wonka and creating 900 hanging baskets next week. Spotty, right? Like, maybe it's time to re-up your candystriping contract, log some more volunteer hours or something is what you're saying? I hear you. Enter Twitter; you can follow me here and feel better about my schedule in the process: I am now spread sufficiently thin.

Speaking of little blue birds, there's a little something I've been over-thinking lately. It's my go-to, dead-of-night piece of anxiety rawhide. The worry chew-toy I refuse to put down, no matter how many sheep I count or to what great lengths I extend the fantasy that if I move a single muscle the Gestapo will find me in my hiding place. Please tell me that you use this technique in battling your own insomnia? Holding as still as humanly possible under threat of being discovered in your annex? No? Well fine, then. You all just go on being normal while I admit my idiosyncrasies in embarrassing detail on the internet.

This is important, though--a couple of moves back, while all our worldly goods were in storage and we were in that awful limbo, I started to get really anxious about some of the more precious things I either a) hadn't packed myself, b) didn't remember packing at all, or c) knew I had packed but forgotten where, etc. You know, the kind of questions that cannot be resolved across 500 miles. I'd lie awake pondering their whereabouts, then in the morning poll my husband. Did he think they were still there? Of course he did. Did he think that I'd be able to find them again someday or were they gone forever? Of course you'll find them, he said. I suffered quietly through my uncertainty, trusting eventually that when things were shaken out and sifted, I'd find what I was looking for. It was a blind faith, really, based on no solid evidence whatsoever. Just hope: there could be no other possible outcome.

Of course, I didn't know that my belongings were being plundered by mice this entire time, did I?

Still, even after I found out about the raping and pillaging at the hands of angry rodents,  I somehow thought there were things of mine that wouldn't be touched, among them:

my Allison Krauss cd
my vintage opal cocktail ring
and, mostly:
my tiny ceramic bird. It was speckled, and blue, and had been broken in every single move, no matter how well-wrapped. I can't remember where I got it, just that it sat on the window-sill of every house we've lived in, having been glued together-what, like...four times? Maybe five? In the words of that darling childrens'-book character Eloise, it was my mostly companion.

See, when you move so much, there is so much re-imagining of your life that takes place. You are always packing or unpacking, whether in your mind or in the light of day, trying to make where you are feel like home. And sometimes it doesn't. For me, it often didn't-that's why I loved this bird. In the first few days of settling in to any new space, Joshua would present it, freshly repaired, to me, and we would place it in a spot where we could see it daily.  It was familiar; constant. It sounds cliche: pieced-together bluebird as metaphor for life? My heart?

Is it lost forever? We've been in our latest place now since July, and I've just about given up. There is nowhere left to look, and a million places to look. I hate to think it got thrown out by mistake in all the post-mouse cleanup, and I'm not spiritually elevated enough to get any joy from imagining one of my grandchildren finding it in the dump someday in a my-heart-will-go-on sort-of scenario. I want it now. After all the ground we've covered---literal and figurative--it seems absurd that we'd lose something so essential, especially when you consider how many worthless trinkets survived the passage with nary a scratch.  Take, for instance, my collection of paper cocktail umbrellas. They're just fine.

This whole situation makes me feel just like a kid. Maybe I should make a lost poster like my son once did for a wayward stuffed animal and hang it up in the unlikely event of a sighting? Bluebird, I am sending out an S.O.S right now. Won't you come home?

*I wrote this a week ago-and so far, I've tweeted once, but the plays were performed and the first round of flowers is almost completely planted. My bird is still out there somewhere.  For now, I am only mildly appeased by this other bird, which is sweet but also slightly taxiderm-ish due to its real feathers. Ew?


Hen Jen said...

I know the feeling, now that you've put it into words. I hope you find your blue bird soon.

I have a clear-blue-glass bluebird on my kitchen window sill. I call it my bluebird of happiness. The very day I bought it and reached up to put it on the window sill, I dropped it and broke off the tail. Dh and I laughed at the irony, that I could break my blue-bird of happiness. eh, it happens!

kstroess said...

i am with you- mark's dad gave me a little owl that mark's grandmother brought with her from switzerland when she was 20. it has sat on every kitchen windowsill i've had. the consistency has helped me, too.

i sure hope it resurfaces, preferably free of mouse-y-ness :)

and also, i sort of like the taxidermy bird, feathers and all.

Deborah said...

I know your actual bird could never be replaced, but: have you seen the lovely birds they currently have at Anthro?? They're just what I've been craving. Nearly bought one the other day, but didn't realize it was going to be for you.

Carmen said...

PLEASE write some more! I miss your blog!!!