Last October I hit my head and halved. Before and after. So then two of me, and also the mother of triplets, and two more boys, each born alone. Twins believed liminal for life in some cultures and like so much else since the concussion, not sure where that leaves any of us.
There was dinner out, an oyster, an allergy, the older brother I had not seen in years, then dizziness seated on the toilet and the half-zipped fall, the tender blue bruises. I did not know I was concussed until Halloween when I lay crying on the bathroom floor of my friend’s bar. You cannot make these things up, although rising in fog from too many naps and long deep nights, they feel made up. When what you think you know about your way to face the day melts to ghost memories, lack of coordinates, it turns the entire factual (and well loved, well loved) world translucent. The day starts in gray and ends grayer and spends most of the day there, despite email and work calls.
Then there is because I love her, the white dog to take walking through the cedar and fir forests of our Pacific Northwest Island, although I don’t want to. Because few things remain the same but she does, and because I don’t want to take her and do anyway, I am, I think, rewarded. For now there are also the birds. Birds of prey, every day new feathered beauty. Yesterday a barred owl, before that a falcon, the eagles, the geese, a Stellar jay, the gulls. Never have there been so many birds. I would have noticed.
This was going to be about an oyster, but became, through looking up, and doing the next indicated thing, about birds, another reason to important to pay attention, keep on trucking. Ostreidae, oysters, carnivorous invertebrates. Group name: colony, bed, reef. All thresholds of a kind. Bed, couch and children my colony, the hard work of keeping awake long enough to earn month to month a reef I inhabit, focused on tops of trees, not looking down, not being dizzy. Falconidae, diurnal birds of prey with strongly hooked bills, sharply curved talons and eye sight so good it is a cliché. They feed differently, kill with beak’s tooth over talons. Then, if we are quiet and the light is shallow enough, the true owls of this forest, genus Aegolius, family Strigidae or typical forest owls, having large, rounded heads, facial discs and long wings, reveal themselves. They are still, watching.
At first, those walks were my one tether to before and after, the thing that remained the same, though always different. The moss, the trail, the one root where the puddle forms. Days and the light are brighter now. The work day easier. My body stronger. Still daily naps (shhh), but I rise from them eager, head outdoors.
There are teeth and beaks and flight in everything.