I’m sitting here waiting on a local volunteer agency to pick up a chair, you know the drill with the three hour window. Two weeks ago I was doing the same thing but it was a sofa, an oversized chair, and a coffee table. The queen’s chair is what we used to call the oversized one, as it had once belonged to me before the dog and later the husband took it over. I decided to get rid of all of them (the funiture that is) one fateful night in early spring while streaming some HGTV program on Netflix. That night, lying on the sofa, I began to notice these wiry, curly, yellow dog hairs that only labs can grow sticking straight up out of the cushions like darts. Moving my eyes over to the oversized chair was no better; it was noticeably sagging in the middle in the exact shape of my husband’s ass. It all seemed particularly drab and depressing and I guess I had just had enough. So I called.
Within a few days my living room was practically empty. The cat and I laid on the floor with a pillow for the first few nights of Masters of Sex but that had to end when my back seized up in rebellion. (That thing about lying on a hard surface being good for your back is BS.) And I could tell that the cat missed her cozy perch on the faux fur throw that used to adorn the back cushions of the couch. But I liked the room better; it seemed more spatial and open, as if something new could happen, as if the past were over and the future could begin, this time without the dog, without the husband, who both passed away last year.
This morning, when I returned from my daily hike, I was taking my usual walk around my garden when I noticed unruly piles of dead foilage mixed with shreds of plastic trash lying on the ground around the martin house. My husband and I had bought this ultimate, luxury hotel for birds on one of our many trips to wine country in California. It was an anniversary present to oursevles one year and we had it shipped to Ohio, had it first mounted on top of a dead tree and later purchased a designated pole with decorative brackets on which it now rests. Martins, however, were never attracted to it, perhaps because there are so many tall trees nearby. Instead, the delightful gold finches have made it their home for several years which means the martins will probably never come. In either case, it is evident to me that this morning, or last night, perhaps while watching Netflix, these feathered creatures living in my backyard in the big bird hotel had finally had enough. They cleaned house. They cleared house. They took everything inside that structure and threw it spiritedly on the ground in disgust. They will begin again.