When my neighbor Roy was placed into an emergency vehicle Thursday for transport to the ER, I went to console his partner, who assured me Roy’s condition was not life threatening but required some medical treatment. We then discussed that, in our neck of the woods, if your loved one goes to the hospital, your ability to be close to them is strictly limited to sitting in your car in the parking lot. This is a disconcerting situation. My prior ER experiences allowed me to be present with my loved one, hold their hand and hear the words of the medical team as well as be part of the decision making.
Another neighbor Nancy was required to move from her long-time home, no longer having enough income to cover her there. She is in a nursing home with government-paid care but in strict isolation from the world with the exception of facility staff – which are in significant short supply these days. In the courtyard of Nancy’s condo grows an awesome bush that produces amazing pink roses. I have been tending to her rose bush, keeping it trimmed and fertilizing it and harvesting the roses to take to Nancy. Since I am unable now to deliver them freshly to her, Nancy asked me to cut them and enjoy them myself. My creative solution is to cut the roses and put them in an arrangement of other plants. Then I take a picture, print it out on paper and mail that to her. Unfortunately, her home is being sold. Another uncertain future.
The birds here are amazing. GBH, my name for a great blue heron who has been inhabiting the ponds around us, has been a stalwart presence. He is so regal in appearance. I observed him fishing one day when a crow dive bombed him. He simply lifted off and moved to the other side of the pond, but the crow resumed his attack, flying over a pair of palm trees. Well those palms are the home of a mockingbird, which came streaking out of the foliage and determinedly chased the crow until it disappeared. I do know the little mockingbirds are very protective and aggressive. For fun, I stand on my porch in the spring and count the number of different melodies that erupt from a single bird while he is trying to impress his girlfriend. I had thought 11 tunes was a record, until this past spring when I counted 14. At that point, my memory is the limiting factor of the count.
We do weather in such interesting ways down here. There are cloud towers rising up in the sky, and layer upon layer of intricate formations. I often look outside my large waterfront window (pond view, actually), in full sunshine and blue skies, only to then notice rain drops disturbing the pond’s surface. Peeking up at the window, there is a lone gray-black cloud determined to give us a hearty drink. But there is also lightning. Florida is known as the lightning capital of the U.S. Though no rain or wind seems imminent, if you see a dark cloud in the distance or hear distant thunder rumble, it is important to understand that if you are within 10 miles of that turbulence, you are close enough to be killed by lightning. Clueless visitors ignore the lifeguards trying to move them off the beach and to safety.
We continue making comforters with Peace by Piece. Mostly a home operation, we do come together to knot and bind our final products now in very small groups of 5 or less, observing local Covid safety standards. On August 11, our group celebrated its first anniversary. We have laid out 140 tops to be sewn. Since we only began knotting and binding recently, other groups have received most our tops for finishing.
These are the bits and pieces of life now. I am hoping for more pieces to work with in the future.