Friday, May 01, 2020

What Day Is It

At the office where the papers grow
She takes a break
Drinks another coffee
And she finds it hard to stay awake
It's just another day
It's just another day
It's just another day

~Paul McCartney
The thing I notice most is the quiet.

Each morning we wake up to the low calls of the hens below our window. We grouse a bit at the early hour, but then roll out to start the day. Because the creatures don't like to be kept waiting.

At the stairs, my wife heads down to take care of the girls, and I head up to take care of the dogs. They're always there waiting, looking down at me, our golden retriever Kate banging her tail against the wall. It's walk time.

Out we go, rain or shine, toward the bluff near our house. A few weeks ago the road was full of cars, most going too fast, heading off to wherever people went before the quiet fell.

Now? Barely any cars at all. The few that do pass go by much slower. It's one change that's been welcome.

These days, most mornings, the sidewalks and roads are taken over by the walkers and runners and cyclists. They go out of their way to keep their social distance, but universally they look up to share a nod or a smile or a quiet "good morning." That didn't used to be the case.

The dogs and I make our way past still-waking houses on one side, calm waters of the bay on the other. The ship traffic has dwindled to a fraction of what it was not long ago, so now we can hear the barking of the sea lions, the variety of the raven calls, even the wind whispering through the feathers of an eagle gliding low just past the edge of the drop off. This new urban audile is achingly close to rural, and I wish it could stay this way.

Occasionally a runner we know will stop a few feet away for a brief, wistful conversation. "Good morning."
"Good morning. So good to see you."
"Good to see you, too. It's been too long. How are you holding up?"
"We're doing fine. We'd be foolish to think otherwise. How about you?"
"The same. We found out yesterday that we'll be working from home through June, at least."
"Good for you. It's nice to have that option."
"It is. I'm so grateful."
"Good to see you getting your miles in."
"Yeah. Definitely looking forward to being able to run together one of these days."
"One of these days."
"All right, I'm gonna get going, here, before I get chilled."
"Yes, don't do that."
"Wish I could give you a hug."
"Me too. One of these days."
"One of these days."

We go our separate ways, and the dogs and I turn to head for home.

They dance, impatiently, as I fetch their breakfast. Once their bowls are down, I head to the hall closet, where we keep a big bag of peanuts. I look out the window by the front door and, as usual, three ravens are waiting. Today they're joined by two Steller's jays and a squirrel.

"Good morning, birds," I say as I walk to one particular spot on the driveway. The ravens caw and the jays whistle as I put down one handful of peanuts, then another. I turn to see them arrayed on the ground around me, almost close enough to touch, as impatient as the dogs.

"Bon appetite, friends. Bon appetite," I say over my shoulder as I go back the way I came. Kicking the pine needles off my shoes, I open the door, glancing up in time to see the ravens fly off with as many nuts in their beak as they can manage.

I close the door behind me.

Time to get the coffee going.