I bought a bread machine recently and it took me about 8 or 9 loafs to get it right.  Too dense, didn’t rise much.  I thought a machine would know what it was doing.  I Almost gave up. Get this, and I tell the truth. It wasn’t until I got desperate, and warmly praised the ball of dough in the machine….that it started turning out good loaves.  Honest.  The standard white loaf with added hemp seeds came out perfect last night.  I said,  “Good job!”   These seemingly insignificant little mystical triumphs are the gems in the headdress of my being.

My job most weekends is at home alone managing the pets.   It’s just the way it is.  I do housework, enjoy solitude, but have to be attentive or our parrots  will start honking and screaming which causes the dogs to bark and howl.  If out, Coo, the African Grey often wanders around and will get into trouble simply looking for entertainment.  She’ll bang on kitchen appliance doors with her beak, (at least I know where she is) or climb drapes, or waddle down the hall to Ron’s bathroom, her selected private location for a nest.   It’s not going to become a nursery, but we let her pretend.  She makes nesting material out of anything her beak can tear, and that’s just about everything.  Ron doesn’t mind! He simply shares his bathroom with his African Grey. Actually both parrots enjoy the steamy room every morning when he showers.  It’s just what is.

 I have a parrot on my shoulder right now here in my room.  Cyrano the Amazon was screaming in short beeps, causing the dogs to howl,  so I brought him in here with me to make peace.  He has a constant pacifier – a bear bell on a ring.  Now and then we poke it for a jingle and he loves the sound; sometimes dances.  Now the Grey is going through her entire repertoire in the kitchen to get my attention.  I’ll take dictation now:  [brackets are my explanations.]

 “Wanna take a shower? Ooh cold outside. [it is snowing] Go to work. Where’s Ron?  Dweep, [perfect impersonation of water going down the drain] Where’s your bell? No bad barking, [impersonation of the other bird impersonating a moan] I’ll be right back. Peas  and corn, Good dog, [shrill whistle followed by a perfected vibrato soprano note] Wanna go for a walk? Mommy going to the store and I’ll be right back ok?  Go on!  Joy. Drink? [moderately naughty cuss words]  Coo? Where’s your bell?  Coo bee doo bee doo bee doo.  Ron! [the dogs heard. started barking and ran out their door to see if Ron was home.]  No bad barking.  Rainshine.  Wanna drink?  Ooh good.  Dweep.  [clicking of tongue sound, piercing whistle.]  Go for a walk. [cussing  is getting louder because I’m not  in the kitchen with the chatterbox. Next, an impersonation of the wood stove door creaking open, and last but not least:] Pop corn.  Umm good.  Woop.”

Bird sounds outside and inside.  I noticed the Robins are ignoring the soft snowfall.  Warmer weather means trimmed flight feathers for the parrots, a compromise I tell them, so that they can go outside in my secluded little garden for some sun.  Fridley Creek finally thawed and I hear that wonderful rushing sound as it flows singing through the yard.  The still bare cottonwoods and willows alongside the creek will fill up with green soon. I am happy with the peace and promise, and sounds, of Now. It’s just what is.