Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Cuckoo's Nest: A Census Of Sorts

Since moving into the Cuckoo's Nest, I've spent a goodly amount of time outside the building.  I don't play Bingo, and I try to watch as little television as possible (I do watch Jeopardy six nights a week to keep my brain working and to keep a close watch on my memory).  I go outside to smoke, but also to get a sense of a larger world than my small room and the dining hall.  There are two areas I check out each day.  One is immediately outside the main entrance to the facility.  The other is in the central patio.  I am amazed at the diversity of life in this tiny corner of the world.

The building I live in is right next door to the convalescent hospital which is a part of the over-all facility. The grounds take up most of the block and is situated right across the street from a small park and some residences, some of which have obviously been recently converted to McMansions of a sort.  In other words, I live in a truly residential neighborhood, just under slightly different circumstances.

At any rate, I've done a little note taking of just what I have observed over the last 8+ months.  Here's some of what I've noticed.

The gardener at the two facilities has done a marvelous job keeping the outside as beautiful and clean as the inside is.  He has his hands full, because the three trees in the grassy area in the front are of the messy variety:  two liquid ambers and one eucalyptus.  But he manages.  The trees in the patio area are ficus, which are much easier to tidy up after, but the shrubs lining the patio need constant pruning.  He does let those shrubs blossom (tiny white flowers), which makes the hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies happy.

It's in the front where I see the most life in all its natural diversity.  There are small lizards which are either black or green, depending on whether they are doing their push-ups on the grass or on the trunk of one of the trees.  There are worms and flying insects (I actually have seen a couple of monarch butterflies and some moths of various colors), a few mosquitoes, and a gnat sized bugger which also has a bit of a bite which causes itching for at least 24 hours.  There are worms after the gardener waters.

And there are birds!  I feed them daily, usually in the morning, and in addition to the ubiquitous house sparrow, there are mocking birds, huge jet black crows, doves, and a black-capped bird a bit larger than the sparrows.

I also feed the squirrels, and at last count there are five of them who pose nicely for me, chattering away while I put down their food, urging me to be a bit quicker about it.  Three of the squirrels are mere pups, one of whom prefers to hope rather than walk, and will turn somersaults and spin in the air out of sheer joy.

All these critters remind me just how good life is, which brings to mind that wonderful poem by ee cummings:

I thank You God for most this amazing day;
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;
and for everything which is natural
which is infinite
which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;
this is the birth day of life and love and wings:
and of the gay great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing breathing any--
lifted from the no of all nothing --
human merely being doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened 



Blogger Meryl Baer said...

Jeopardy is great to keep the mind sharp - on the other hand, sometimes makes me feel as if I am losing my sharp marbles. Often depends on the category!…love the poem.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Well, to be honest, I've discovered embarrassing gaps in my education ... primarily in geography now that the world map has changed so dramatically.


4:35 PM  
Anonymous Chris Miko said...

Sounds nice with all the wildlife there.

My mom is at a nursing home that is basically surrounded by a parking lot. But there is a small creek within walking distance, unfortunately (or ironically) she is confined to a wheelchair. But she does get to see the sun a few times a week, weather permitting here in Pennsylvania.

9:37 AM  
Anonymous paula said...

So glad you are back writing on your blog! I sent you a note long ago, when I learned you were sick. Then, I didn't get back to checking your blog for a few months, But now, I see how much I've missed! Your spirit is an inspiration to anyone who reads your blog, Diane! Thanks for reminding us of the glory of cummings, and of the world around us.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Jane Gagle-Bennett said...

Thanks for reminding me to go out my back door and open my eyes.

11:02 AM  

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