Naked in my bed at noon on a warm November day, feeling my freshly shaved and almond oiled legs soft against my flannel sheets. My phone rings, get up here, you have a half hour. I quickly put on my clothes and then sweat all the way up into the hills. It is beautiful outside. I pull in and he greets me with a warm hug and a kiss on my lips, the first in many many days. I have missed the warm taste of him so much it is almost painful. He offers me food and drink which I decline. We walk through the property I helped clear just a couple months ago, with my machete. Only now we are in the underbrush and walking along the creek which was dry then but full of water now. It is sparkling in the afternoon light and I stop quiet just to listen to it. He stretches up and hammers and staples Posted signs along the edge of the creek, and all along the old stone wall. He checks his stealth cams which show pictures of a coyote, a doe and two bucks. We hear a hawk and both turn our heads to the brilliant blue sky and do not see it. We hear it call again and both turn our heads, we see a blue jay. But no hawk. Again the call but this time we realize it is coming from the jay. A forth time confirms it. We are filled with wonder, in my years of watching birds, I have never heard this, in his years of hunting he had not heard this. But when I looked it up at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology it said that “blue jays frequently mimic hawks”. I love when things like this happen, when the natural world surprises me and fills me with wonder. I get ready to leave with the promise of dinner together later, he puts on his gear and gets ready to hunt on the warm afternoon. He kisses me again, though not the for the second time.
I am so often filled with doubt. Doubt in myself, doubt in the world, doubt in my abilities, doubt in how I write, how I am as a parent, a teacher, a friend, a lover, an artist. I wish I could mimic someone who isn’t filled with this painful insecurity. It does not dominate my life, but when I am tired, or on the verge of period, or as today in the throes of both it and the beginning stages of the change, or when I have had a bad day I question myself. Does the blue jay question? It pretends it is a hawk in order to offer protection to other birds, in order to scare the hawk away. Is it to protect itself that it does this? I would protect myself from this predator that lives in my head, that comes out to eat my confidence when I am too tired to defend against it. And why can I not fight it off? We have battled so many times I should be a master by now. I crawl into my bed, legs no longer clean shaven, no longer naked covered in thick fleece and sweating in the waves of hot flash, glasses pinching my nose, belly aching from eating too much crap, a night where I texted people who didn’t answer just to stave off the feeling of intense loneliness. The television eating my brain as I surfed the internet for bird calls. I should have knitted or read my book, but instead I fell asleep, and now late and knowing I have to be up in just seven hours, I cannot sleep. The day will be torture. I have no solutions for the messy and vicious part of me that is in control right now.
I remember him kissing me in the hot tub, telling me you are as blind as a bat, and then trained to temper his teasing with kindness he says, but you are so beautiful. But I am not beautiful now. I am a blue jay, screeching from the tree tops. Wishing I was a hawk.