Birds and moons
Attempting to keep it simple
Sunday night, the moon was blood red and darkening fast. We stood on the porch and watched it disappear, me with my binoculars, Kwame with one of his cameras.
Our weekend was so full I missed most of the latest news until Sunday night. Saturday we ended up playing seven hours of music between subbing a gig in San Ramon and then driving to Davenport to play as scheduled. Two places with deep imprints of my family at the edges of my home range. It was the second warm day following a week of cooler temperatures and wind and the day held an air of celebration. Crowds of people were out and about enjoying the sunshine, the bounty of the season, the beauty of the coast. My former brother-in-law dropped off a bunch of strawberries. Later, I saw one of my oldest friends. Touchstones.
There’s nothing like singing all day to clear one’s being. Kwame and I woke up Sunday fired up on music again and swapped new songs before driving home.
The headlines about Buffalo landed like a thud. Now the Super Flower Blood Moon was about to pass into Earth’s long shadow.
As we stood on our porch, a man wearing headphones walked by with his dog, bopping slightly to a beat we couldn't hear.
"Look at the moon!" I called. It was a few minutes away from being completely obscured.
"What?" he looked up, surprised the scanned the dark sky. "Oh cool! Thanks!" and kept on.
So many people walk down our street keeping their eyes straight ahead. Or maybe they know they are very visible and simply brace themselves, making sure it doesn't look like they're looking at or into houses. Alameda is actually pretty diverse, but our block, as far as home ownership, is (unsurprisingly) predominantly white. Each hello to someone that doesn't look like me is my tiny, itty bitty peace offering.
We watched the moon retreat and went inside.
The other event of the weekend was the US And Canadian observance of World Migratory Bird Day, “an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats,” which I observed a few days late. Monday, I drove up to Marin to meet a friend for a hike, stopping on the way by the Wild Bird Center to exchange some bird seed that the usual feeder birds weren’t excited about. I've been ordering no-mess (so as not to attract the rats), squirrel-proof (so as to actually feed the birds) food throughout the pandemic, but the Alameda feeder birds turned up their bills at the latest batch.
The last time I was at the store was to buy my latest pair of binoculars before the 2020 Hawkwatch. That had felt like such a big trip at the time after more than six months of not leaving Alameda except on the boat. That time feels so innocent now — before January 6th, before the option of vaccination and realizing extent of anti-vax rhetoric and anti-mask sentiment, before the day the sky turned orange and stayed that way — when I thought I was in the majority, staying close to home, thinking if we all just did our part, the pandemic would end.
On top of just trying to navigate staying virus-free, every woman I've talked to in the past couple of weeks is dealing with anxiety, stress and upset over the Roe draft opinion. I ended up playing a gig at the time I’d intended to go to the Women’s March, but my friend said she made it to the San Francisco protest. She was glad to show up but it just stirred the pot of upset more.
Now we were setting out on the Deer Island, an open space preserve on a remnant of a marshland and a former site of a working dairy. We passed a smattering of other people on the trail, all looking robust and happy to be out in the air, feet on the ground. The air was windy and dry but the grass was green and dotted with wildflowers. Signs warned of snakes and ticks, but the path was mainly busy with lizards. The sky was full of White Pelicans, Rough-winged, Tree and Barn Swallows (it’s worth pausing to consider that these birds flew thousands of miles from South America to get here). I was excited to see two Mute Swans dabbling in a nearby pond.
Back home, I cleaned and refilled the bird feeder. The Scrub Jay found the new cache first, hopping across the porch sill with purpose. Later in the afternoon, the finches arrived, an hour later, the Chickadees themselves, chattering away at their good fortune.
*Since I didn’t march, I donated a percentage of my weekend gig earnings to: